As a fan of Florence + The Machine, I think this is really important. I only watched the video after seeing arguments about it here on tumblr and was honestly not prepared for the levels of racism I found in the video.
In the video, Florence is being chased by a white man in blackface, a symbol of darkness and evil. At several points, he is shown piercing a voodoo doll, in a flawed and corrupted vision of the voodoo religion. At the end of the video, Florence is saved when she tumbles off of a building and falls into a cathedral, at the feet of a group of young, white boys dressed as priests.
There really is no question that this is blackface. And even if it weren’t, it still plays into tropes casting black men as evil, and white, Christian men as the saviors of white, Christian women. The video is appalling and inexcusable, please sign the petition to let the band and producers know that we will not tolerate this.
This has been one of my favorite songs for weeks for the utterly gorgeous passion and beauty of it— and the music video made me sick. It’s not clever and it’s sure as hell not harmless, and any resonance the demonic blackface and the little doll manages to strike up from the audience arises explicitly from misuse of foul and ancient colonialist tropes. It’s not just racist, it’s lazy and racist, which makes it doubly inexcusable for a piece of art.
I’m not one of those people that think you get to opt out of being a decent human being because you’re An Artist. If anything, your ability to communicate in larger ways, to a larger audience, only increases your responsibility to being mindful of what comes out of your mouth, and your hands, and your heart. If balancing your drive to create with your obligation not to be a complete asshole is actually tough for you, then maybe you should do a little actual soul-searching, instead of singing about God and looking anguished on top of tall buildings while reinforcing, again, the hoary old bit of collective lunacy that black dudes are scary demons out to hurt normal white people.
Sign the petition.