Music Videos: Actresses Adding the Hyphenate of Director

Sometimes, people roll their eyes when actresses pick up a camera and snarl the word “hyphenate” like an epithet. While I don’t want to overpraise these efforts and laud them as feminist acts, I don’t want to dismiss them out of hand either. So today, I thought I’d throw up a couple of noteworthy examples. Feel free to share yours as well.

First off, we’ve got Warpaint’s “Undertow,” which was directed by former drummer Shannyn Sossamon.

Next up, Glee‘s Dianna Agron put together the clip for Thao with the Get Down Stay Down “Body” and used the collaboration as a way to encourage support for OxFam. When the video first circulated in May of this year, Kristen at Act Your Age and I discussed how the couplings could be more inclusive toward queer folk and people of color. Hopefully we’ll get to see Agron’s talent develop behind the camera.

Finally, I thought it be worth recognizing Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, who received critical acclaim in 2007 for her debut feature Caramel, which she co-wrote, directed, and starred in. She’s also a well-renowned music video director, and has worked extensively with pop singer Nancy Ajram in a sustained collaborative pairing that makes my Amerocentric mind recall Beyoncé and Melina Matsoukas.

In my cursory view of Labaki’s work, I see a lot of conventional representations of glamorous pop star femininity. However, I’m coming at this from a decidedly American third-wave feminist perspective, so I don’t want to speak out of turn. Nonetheless, I think the representation of female celebrity in clip for “Ya Salam” is interesting and want to learn more.

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