Sky Ferreira has defended herself against allegations of racism following the release of the music video for "I Blame Myself", saying that she feels "insulted" by the accusations and that she "never exploited anyone" in the making of the video.
In the Grant Singer-directed video, Ferreira plays a gang leader who gets arrested and interrogated. People on Twitter and Facebook have attacked the video as a "racist mess" and accused her of appropriating black culture and using African-American men as "props". Some are especially unimpressed that the video is also shoppable, which means you can buy all of Sky's outfits from the video:
In a lengthy Facebook response, Ferreira tackles the accusations head-on. "Nothing upsets me more than being called racist," she writes, "because that is one of the most hateful things anyone can be. Not only do I find it insulting towards myself but I also feel insulted for the actors & dancers & my family in the video. No, I did not use black back up dancers as 'props'. I never have and never will look at any human being as a prop. That's disgusting."
She goes on to say that she auditioned and cast the best dancers for her video; they just happened to all be black. And some of the people in her video are family members, too – as Sky explains, her family is Latino and Native American, while her brother is half-black.
"I know that you have to be socially aware & mindful of others but when I look at this video I don't see race as a issue," she says. "Stop trying to search for something that isn't there.. I never exploited anyone & I don't use people in any shape or form."
In this behind-the-scenes video (above), director Grant Singer describes the video as being set in a "quintessential American ghetto" in which Sky is revealed as the "boss guy". According to Ferreira and Singer, the video is inspired by Michael Jackson and early 90s rap videos.
"Don't think you're personally racist at all, but there is a bit of a problematic deal about fetishizing race-based poverty," writes one music fan. "It just comes off as a bit tone deaf. 'Quintessential American ghetto' is cringeworthy."
Getting a bad sense of deja vu over the entire thing? The uproar over "I Blame Myself" comes a few months after controversy erupted over Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here" video. Allen also denied any racist intent and claimed that, like Ferreira, she also only hired the best dancers for the job.
You can watch the full video here on SSENSE. What do you think?
Follow Zing Tsjeng on Twitter here @misszing