One day after its release, pop/rock/ska band, No Doubt, willingly removed their newest music video from YouTube and other channels following complaints about insensitivity from Native Americans.
The video is for the second single “Looking Hot” off their new album “Push and Shove” and features a pretty absurd Cowboys and Indians theme, with singer Gwen Stefani and bassist Tony Kanal as the blond [Native American] Indians, and drummer Adrian Young and guitarist/keyboardist Tom Dumont as the booze-swilling topless cowboys.
In less than four minutes, the video manages to include pretty much every stereotype of Native Americans, though with a hipster twist. They wear headdresses, but they’re funky mowhawk-style headdresses. They make smoke signals, but the smoke isn’t boring old grey … it’s red! The Native Americans dance in that stooped-over way in the dark around a great big fire. There’s even a tomahawk! No one is scalped though, because that would be too much.
The video was directed by Melina Matsoukas who also recently directed the video for Rihanna’s single “We Found Love.” The apparent story they were going for in the video is that the Native Americans, Gwen (in her most sensible stilettos) and Tony, are captured by the cowboys. Tony is thrown into a jail cell, but, for some reason, Gwen is tied, with her arms above her head, to the side of a building. She struggles and she sings and her bosom heaves (this staging is a bit gratuitous but would be considerably more so with someone more endowed).
I don’t know what the arrest procedures were back then … maybe the backwards lawmen were worried about getting too touchy-feely with their inmates … but somehow, in a classic case of sloppy frisking, that clever Tony manages to sneak a tomahawk into jail with him (apparently down the front of his pants), and use to it to save Gwen. She runs to freedom, awkwardly in her high heels and feathered headband, leaving her courageous tribesman to whatever fate awaits cute, little Indians in a Wild West jail.
In addition, there are shots of Gwen sexily riding horses, dancing around a bonfire, and dancing around a teepee with long braids and a bizarre red dress that looks much more Harajuku than Native American.
To its credit, the band released the following statement on their website: “Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. … We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.”
The band is scheduled to perform the song live on the X Factor UK’s results show tonight, and, presumably, hopefully, they will leave their headdresses at home.