Azalea and Ora Combat Patriarchy in “Black Widow”

Iggy Azalea’s new single, “Black Widow” featuring Rita Ora has been blowing up the charts and, more recently, the duo performed the song together live at the 2014 MTV VMAs.  The week before, however, Azalea debuted the song’s music video on YouTube.

Rita Ora (right), Iggy Azalea (center), Michael Madsen (left) start in the music video for "Black Widow"

Rita Ora (right), Iggy Azalea (center), Michael Madsen (left) start in the music video for “Black Widow”

Azalea, who co-directed the video, stars as a diner waitress who waits on Rita Ora and her super-obnoxious and significantly-older boyfriend (played by actor Michael Madsen of Kill Bill and Reservoir Dogs fame).  As she chops lettuce for the boyfriend’s new sandwich, she daydreams of a fantasy world where she and Ora are Tarantino-esque Japanese samurai that pursue the take-down of said boyfriend.  A cameo of T.I. adds to the fun in the video.

'Kill Bill,' much? - Iggy Azalea references Tarantino in new video

‘Kill Bill,’ much? – Iggy Azalea references Tarantino in new video

While the video could be perceived as a frivolous riff-off of popular movie franchises, the theme of escapism and feminism encapsulate the entire video.  Fantasizing to escape the unpleasant present appears obvious, as there is a strong juxtaposition in the cinematography of Azalea’s character’s real world in the diner and fantasy Japan, but also the escapism from the patriarchal society that allows men to take advantage of women and perceive them as subservient and voiceless.  Over a minute and a half of the video is dedicated to depict the scenario of the misogynistic boyfriend before any music plays, and, when the song finally begins, it kick-starts the main plot centering on Azalea and Ora preparing to destroy him.  The sole responsibility of a traditional Japanese samurai woman‘s was to maintain and guard the home, so Azalea and Ora play against gender in Azalea’s fantasy by turning into bad-ass samarai assassins in skin-tight bodysuits.  The escapism element suggests that destructing this man and what he stands for would be impossible in their/our current reality.

Rita Ora (right) takes down Paul Sorvino (left) during a card game.

Rita Ora (right) takes down Paul Sorvino (left) during a card game.

While it doesn’t make a lot of sense and is not as iconic as her “Fancy” music video, “Black Widow” is another example of Azalea’s penchant for creativity and her ability to have fun with the art form.

Watch it here!

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