There’s Something Off About J. Lo’s ‘Ain’t Your Mama’ Video
Jennifer Lopez released a new music video for her single “Ain’t Your Mama” today. It’s similar to most videos from an artist of J. Lo’s stature: it’s got a huge budget, a catchy song, and hella product placement.
It also has a really strong feminism and female empowerment theme throughout, which is awesome.
Oh, and a Dr. Luke producingÂ credit. Awkward.
This combinationÂ feels a little off, at least forÂ anyone who’s even slightly aware of Dr. Luke’s, shall we say, legal issues. As you probably know, he used to be one of Kesha’s main collaborators â€” until sheÂ accused him of drugging and raping her, and of exerting unfair control over her career for years. She’s currently locked in a contract with Sony, which is also Dr. Luke’s parent company.
The court didn’t find Dr. Luke guilty of any of the crimes Kesha accused him of, and she’s still locked into her Sony contract.Â But whether or not Dr. Luke mistreatedÂ Kesha, theÂ music industry has a long and twisted history of letting powerful men exploit female talentÂ in the interest of their own financial gains. And it’s only recently, thanks to social media, that women have been able to speakÂ up about it.
At the same time, feminism has been popping up more and more as a marketing tool in pop culture, rather than a movement with concrete goals like equal pay and abortion rights. It’s almost like feminism is a trend and not a political movement.Â There’s nothing necessarily wrong with talking about feminism in pop culture, but when it all comes together with a Dr. Luke producingÂ credit, it starts to feel messy.
J. Lo’s video for “Ain’t Your Mama” starts with the pop star fighting with her boyfriendÂ on a payphone in the rain because there are no cell phones in J. Lo land. Then, she goes back into her news anchor job and gets her hair blow-dried while Hillary Clinton talks about feminism in a voiceover. During Hillary’s “women’s rights are human rights” snippet, we are treated to product placements for both coffee and blow dryers â€” which feels a little weird, Â but I guess she’s leaning in at least.
Then, J. Lo delivers the following generic girl power message:
“Look, I don’t have to tell you thingsÂ are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. Taken for granted, ignored, overlooked, under-appreciated. WeÂ have a big, big problem, ladies. First,Â youâ€™ve got to get mad. I want you to get up, get up out of your chair. GoÂ to the window. OpenÂ the door, stick your head out, and yell.”
Then the song starts, and the whole thing ends with a women’s rights march. PlusÂ more product placementÂ because feminism is lucrative these days.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with talking about feminism in any situation â€” butÂ it’s prettyÂ gross that Dr. Luke, who’s been accused of raping and taking advantage of a young woman, is directly profiting from this. J. Lo’s short speech at the beginning sounds exactly like what someone would say at a rally to prevent sexual assault, butÂ it’s putting money in Dr. Luke’s back pocket.
Of course, the back story is that J. Lo never technically worked with Dr. Luke on this song â€” it came to her after he’d already finished working on it and before the lawsuit was filed, E! reports. So this could just be another unfortunate instance of a female artist having no choice but to work with a douche. An alleged douche, I mean.
We don’t begrudge J. Lo the right to make her cash and express herself however she sees fit, of course. And hey, maybe the whole thing is supposed to be a veiled fuck-you to Dr. Luke. It just sucks that Dr. Luke is benefiting from such a girl-power-centric video.
But props to J. Lo for making her videos become steadily more feminist-themed, like in “I Luh You Papi.” At least she’s moving things in the right direction, even if Dr. Luke did slip in.