By Henna Kathiya and Carly Kilroy
With Rihanna causing a stir in the music world with her controversial outfits and racy music videos, it comes as no surprise that her most recent hit “We Found Love” has been banned from being played in France before 10PM. But she’s not the only mainstream artist to have her video banned from television. We spent some time looking through some of other videos that have been banned over the years and came up with a list of our five favorites.
Just make sure you don’t get caught watching these videos on your work computer. They got banned for a reason, after all!
Lady Gaga, “Alejandro”
What list would be complete without resident badass chick Lady Gaga? Lady Gaga has made her fame off of being weird and raising a lot of eyebrows with her fashion and compelling videos. The video for “Alejandro” is no different. Complete with religious and political symbolism, the Grammy Award-winning artist does not make her opinions subtle. As a LBGT activist, this video pays homage to the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy with the classic raunchy Gaga twist. The video features a homoerotic military theme, with shirtless boys serving as her backup dancers. The video also shows Gaga wearing a latex nun’s habit. Other than making a blatant political statement, the video shows Gaga gyrating on a bed with one of the scantily clad dancers and openly making sexual gestures while wearing the nun’s habit. The end of the video also shows Gaga ripping off her latex nun’s outfit and having all the dancers grope her body. No wonder some sectors of the public were up in arms about this video.
Read on for more!
Erykah Badu, “Windowseat”
While the video starts out looking fairly innocent, it quickly takes a turn in the opposite direction. The video begins with Erykah walking on Elm Street (the site of the John F. Kennedy’s assassination) during the day, before she begins stripping off her clothes in broad daylight – much to the horror (or delight) of some people. She disrobes one piece at a time, until she is down to nothing but her birthday suit. Badu is completely nude as she approaches the spot on Elm where Kennedy was shot (which is marked with an “X” on the pavement). The sound of a gunshot can be heard and Badu collapses as if she has been shot. Streaks of blue “blood” then spill from her head as she lies in the street, spelling the word “groupthink.” Even more interesting was the fact that Badu did not obtain permission to shoot this video, making it a piece of guerilla filming, so the reactions of the passersby in the film are completely real. Talk about racy.
Madonna, “Justify My Love”
In classic Madonna fashion, this video is one of the most famously banned clips. After watching the video it’s not hard to understand why. The black-and-white video features risqué hotel room antics with Madge using her co-star, model Tony Ward, as her sexual play thing. The video mixes film-noir elements with sexual fetishes (leather, latex bodysuits, and corsets) with Madonna rolling around in a bed wearing skimpy lace underwear, a garter belt and stockings while various shadowy figures come and go. The only actual nudity occurs when a topless dominatrix — suspenders partly covering her breasts — appears and roughly grabs a bound man by the hair. The sexualized, androgynous theme of the video certainly struck a nerve with the general public.
Also banned from playing during daylight hours:
Enrique Inglesias, “Tonight I’m F**king You”
Even changing the racy song title to “Tonight I’m Loving You” couldn’t save this player’s anthem from landing on the banned music video list. Within the video there are multiple sporadic clips of Enrique, um, “entertaining” a number of different women, but that isn’t all. It’s the cluster of barely dressed women all grouped on a bed behind Inglesias, grabbing at him, that pushes this video over the edge.
Ciara is known for her spicy and confident choreography, but the moves in her music video “Ride” feat. Ludacris proved to be just a little too provocative for television. Not only was the choreography too much for some, but her wardrobe (which included a barely there black body suit and a wet white T-shirt) had parents up in arms about what their children were watching.
M.I.A., “Born Free”
M.I.A.’s “Born Free” was banned for its war-like graphic content. The video is based around the violent round up and transport of a group of redheaded young men and adolescent boys to a remote dessert where they are scorned, beaten and eventually killed. Every last grueling detail is played out on screen and nothing is left to the imagination. It could be interpreted that the video is in protest of brutal acts of genocide which M.I.A. witnessed as a young child growing up in Sri Lanka.