Lena Dunham criticises Kanye West video

By BBC Newsbeat

Girls actress Lena Dunham says Kanye West’s video for Famous, which features seemingly naked celebrities in bed together, is “disturbing”.

The 30-year-old star said Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Anna Wintour had been “reduced to a pair of waxy breasts”.

She also said it made her feel “unsafe and worried” for teenage girls.

It’s not known if the people in the clip are paintings or wax statues, but in some cases it appears to be the actual celebrity posing.

In a post on Facebook, Lena Dunham described the video as “one of the more disturbing ‘artistic’ efforts in recent memory”.

She wrote: “Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they’ve been drugged and chucked aside at a rager? It gives me such a sickening sense of disease.

“I don’t have a hip cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift, a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna, reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley.

“It makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried for the teenage girls who watch this and may not understand that grainy roving camera as the stuff of snuff films.”

Lena Dunham, who also writes Girls and produces the show, encouraged Kanye West to “make a statement” on fame and privacy but not at the expense of women.

“I can’t watch it, don’t want to watch it, if it feels informed and inspired by the aspects of our culture that make women feel unsafe even in their own beds, in their own bodies,” she wrote.

The rapper unveiled the video to Famous at the Forum in Inglewood, California, on Friday, where thousands of fans filled the arena.

It features Kanye West in bed with his wife Kim Kardashian before the camera zooms out to reveal what appears to be wax figures of another 10 famous people asleep beside them.

They include Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby, former US president George W Bush, Chris Brown, Kim Kardashian’s former boyfriend Ray J and Kanye West’s ex-girlfriend Amber Rose.

It’s not known if the portrayals are paintings or wax statues, but in some cases it appears to be the actual celebrity posing.

Explaining the video, which is only available on Tidal, Kanye West told Vanity Fair: “It’s not in support or anti any of (the people in the video). It’s a comment on fame.”

The imagery for Famous is inspired by artist Vincent Desiderio’s 2008 painting Sleep, which featured people in various states of undress sleeping next to each other.

He called Kanye West’s video “a tableau that was disturbingly familiar, rapturously beautiful and frighteningly uncanny”, in an essay published for W Magazine.

The track has caused controversy after the rapper included lyrics about Taylor Swift, saying that they “might still have sex” because he “made her famous”.

In February, a spokeswoman for the singer said she’d told Kanye West not to release “such a strong misogynistic message” and she hadn’t been made aware of the lyrics.

A spokesperson for Taylor Swift told Newsbeat: “A song cannot be approved if it was never heard. Kanye West never played the song for Taylor Swift.

“Taylor heard it for the first time when everyone else did and was humiliated.

“Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.”

Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian called Taylor Swift a liar after the singer said she hadn’t given the rapper permission to use the controversial lyric.


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