THE REWATCH: Video Girl (2011)
Video Girl is the kind of movie that would've been ON POINT in 2003. Seriously, the so-called "video vixen" phenomenon was everywhere back then, and I haven't seen a lot of them appearing in music videos in a long while. But then, I don't really watch music videos anymore. That might have something to do with it.
Anyway, my first introduction to this trend was waaaaaaay back in 1996 when Blackstreet released their music video for "No Diggity." But the ladies in that video are DANCING THEIR ASSES OFF. They are not here for you. They are here to WORK. And the girls in the club? All glamour shots. MAKEUP. SUITS. JACKETS. BLAZERS. Revealing nothing. They are here to talk, have a drink, dance with their girls and go home. They are not here to PUT ON A SHOW FOR YOU AND YA HOMIES.
Sorry. I got emotional there.
So this movie... Video Girl. Or as I like to call it, A Post-Obama Hip-Hop Tragedy. Meagan Good plays Lorie, a "good girl" (GOD I HATE THAT TERM) who gets in a car crash that ends her promising ballet career. She works at an antiques store, where it's clear she's not moving up. One night, she goes to DA CLUB and runs into an old friend, NotHilaryDuff who in turn introduces her to a music video director named "Shark".
This is bad news, y'all. Bad news. Because Shark instantly takes a liking to Lorie and wants her to appear in ALL OF HIS VIDEOS. Basically, all she has to do is stand around in various revealing outfits, looking Meagan Good-y until Shark calls "cut." MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS IS SO EASY!
Soon, Lorie is in LA appearing as the featured model in all of Shark's vids. You know she's made it because she shows up in like a million videos for sizzling hot artists like.... HOOBASTANK. And she and Shark have also started banging, so... that's good? I guess? #RelationshipGoals
Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- Lorie's family consists of her fabulous grandmother, QUEEN RUBY DEE and a sister whose name I forget... let's call her "Dead Sister," because (spoiler-alert) SHE DIES. You see, Dead Sister was dating RealLifeBunBfromUGKButNotInTheMovie whose various gangsta capers end up getting her shot in a convenience store brawl. "Ladies, don't date rappers..." is what this movie seems to say. Just wait, there will be more warnings ahead
Anywaaaaaay.... LOS ANGELES IS FABULOUS, GUYS. Lorie is living it up as Shark's star video vixen until she finds out about Dead Sister's death at the hands of the dudes who hate UGK probably. She's devastated and can't handle the pain. COKE TO THE RESCUE!!!!
By now, Lorie is the "highest-paid chick in the game." So it's about time for her to start throwing it all away, yeah? First, she splits with good ol' Shark, who has proven himself to be a jealous, spiteful, possessive asshat, which means Lorie's 'bout to get locked out the house when he thinks she's trying to branch out on her own. "Ladies, don't date music video directors..." is what this movie seems to say.
Shark is svengali-ing out, so now Lorie's homeless... and on drugs. AND, BOY, IS SHE ON DRUGS. This girl snorts anything and everything that NotHilaryDuff hands over. One minute, she's stoned at a Juelz Santana video shoot and making him uncomfortable. The next, she's screaming at her roommates for putting her in the shower to revive her after she OD's.
Soon, Lorie's so wasted she gets kicked off the set of a low-level rap video that looks like it's being filmed on an iPhone. "Ladies, don't do drugs..." is what this movie seems to say. But that isn't Lorie's rock bottom.
THAT happens when Lorie and NotHilaryDuff meet the guy who played the studio boss who fired Vincent Chase from Aquaman 2 in the changing room at a Rodeo Drive boutique. He introduces himself as a "producer." Who just happens to be watching ladies in the changing room. NOT CREEPY AT ALL.
Lorie ends up meeting him later at DA CLUB and nearly falls apart when she sees Shark there with NotHilaryDuff. She runs to the loo to snort up some courage, and Shark sits and talks with Creepy Producer. It's pretty darn clear that Creepy Producer is creepy, but Shark is COLD AS ICE and doesn't say a word to Lorie about him. In fact, he encourages the dude. Yuck.
Before long, Creepy Producer sweet-talks Lorie into coming with him to his hotel room, where he promptly roofies and rapes her. Or at least, we think she's raped because everything pretty much happens off-screen. Lorie escapes and runs out into the street to hide behind a dumpster where some garbage men find her the next morning, dirty, traumatized and babbling incoherently. GET THE SYMBOLISM? SHE'S TRASHED. OK I'll stop.
Yeah, Lorie's reached her turning point, so she decides to return home where she talks to Dead Sister as she sleeps. Dead Sister encourages her to follow her dreams or some shit. But I don't know because I'm still trying to piece together exactly how Lorie lost sight of her dreams or what they even were...
Apparently she gets an old friend from home to help her get clean and get her life back in order. The movie ends on an uncertain beat with Lorie doing an interview about her journey like she's on Oprah, saying something about how she wants to start her career over. TOO BAD NOBODY'S TOLD HER THAT THE MUSIC VIDEO INDUSTRY HAS IMPLODED. Good luck with that, Lorie.
THE REWATCH EFFECT:
Overall, I remember laughing a LOT more when I saw this for the first time in 2011. I guess the world was brighter and more humorous. Now everything is dark. And bleak. The Video Vixen trend may be passe now, but it brings back a lot of bad memories of how we viewed (Black) femininity. Video Girl was obviously meant to be a warning to women not to fall into the "fame trap", but it could just as well be a warning to the rest of us to never return to the Dark Ages when we reduced women to little more than scantily-clad eye candy, shimmying in front of the fully-clothed, powerful men who held their destinies in their hands.