If you haven't heard of Ukrainian group Kazaky, you are missing out. Oleg, Arthur, Stas and Cyril are by no means your typical boy band. Sensual and fluid choreography, homoeroticism, heels, and gym bodies are the visuals that accompany their speaker thumping tracks. I first discovered their song In the Middle a few months ago. The video for the song instantly became an internet sensation. The clip was directed by Yevgeniy Timokhin. Below is also the clip for their new song Love, also directed by Timokhin.
In the Middle
Love it. The video for Love is giving me Givenchy. I wish things like this would work in the U.S.
Rihanna recently drew criticism and a lawsuit from David LaChappelle for her S&M video. The photographer/director pointed out her video's uncanny similarities to his work. LaChappelle has directed music videos before so if she wanted a LaChappelle look she could have hired him.
Another artist is under fire now for copying. Kanye West and legendary hip-hop music video director Hype Williams have been accused of copying the concept for a portion of Kanye's All of the Lights video. The original video served as the opening for 2009 French film Enter the Void.
Take a look starting at 1:08...
Kanye West All of the Lights ft. Rihanna
Check out the original video here.
I have to agree. Kanye and Hype lifted this concept. I can see them paying homage but this is too close for comfort. The workmanship isn't even close to the original, lessening the Kanye clip to cheap imitation.
This begs the question of whether or not any of our rising icons are original. I do believe wholeheartedly in inspiration but can you be considered an icon if most of what you do is derivative of the work of someone else? Beyoncé has been accused of copying plenty of things. Even the video for Single Ladies, arguably her best, was based on the Fosse choreography for Gwen Verdon's Mexican Breakfast dance. Pop music's biggest star Lady Gaga seems to draw all of her ideas from the past. David Bowie, Grace Jones, Madonna, and others seem to have inspired her every move. Her record breaking new single Born This Way has been widely attacked for sounding like nothing more than Madonna's Express Yourself.
The pop stars of the 80s such as Madonna, Michael and Janet Jackson, and Prince were so groundbreaking that their visuals may be hard to live up to. They rose to fame in the era when visuals were becoming more important. Also, most of our pop stars today grew up watching them. Therefore, the influence more than likely can't be helped. I typically don't mind someone grabbing something and making it their own. However, the younger generations are seeing these works as new ideas, ignoring the references. As much as I love Usher's work and it's tribute to Michael Jackson and Rihanna's constant Madonna/Janet style reinvention, I am beginning to wonder if we will ever see anything new. Or will we forever be subjected to mere tributes to the past?
For their 90th Anniversary cover, L'Officiel magazine chose Beyoncé to don African inspired fashions. The shoot pays tribute to Nigerian political activist and musician Fela Kuti. The cover shot of the African Queen themed shoot shows the pop star rocking a gold dress from Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection. The shoot has drawn controversy due to the dark face painting that appears in a couple of the shots. This is not Beyoncé's first encounter with skin color controversy. L'Oreal was accused of lightening the singer's skin for a past ad and Beyoncé herself has even been recently accused of skin bleaching. I take no issue with the face painting. It is a common practice and is used here for artistic purposes rather than comic effect. UK singer Estelle recently caught fire for her blackface scenes in her Freak video and Nicki Minaj's tribal painting for V magazine caused a stir.
Check out more photos and behind the scenes footage below.
Singer Lady Gaga Magazine: VOGUE Photography: Mario Testino [source]
Excerpts from the Vogue article by Jonathan Van Meter:
“Speaking purely from a musical standpoint, I think I am a great performer. I am a talented entertainer,” the singer tells the March issue of Vogue magazine. “I consider myself to have one of the greatest voices in the industry. I consider myself to be one of the greatest songwriters. I wouldn’t say that I am one of the greatest dancers, but I am really quite good at what I do.”
Gaga sounds pretty cocky. In her defense, she added: "I think it’s OK to be confident in yourself.” “It’s so funny when people say, ‘It’s amazing to see how hard you work.’ We’re supposed to work hard!” she says. “I have the world at my fingertips. I am not going to saunter around the stage doing pelvic thrusts and lip-synching. That’s not at all why I am in this.”
“In Kanye’s only magazine cover shoot of the season, he shows that he’s finally done talking and wants his art to speak for itself. He has literally put his money where his mouth is, and in tandem, VMAN has issued a promotion where one in ten covers contain REAL dollar bills. It’s the ‘thrill of the game’ – and who better to illustrate this than one of the most controversial music and fashion icons of our generation.”
Excuse my French, but this is Le Fucking Business. ;-)