Director of FKA twigs’ “Cellophane” music video Andrew Thomas Huang took to social media to express some thoughts on Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO” music video.
In a thread of tweets, the director said that there is no blood between him and Lil Nas X and that he truly appreciates the artist’s visual. “I’m a fan of @LilNasX. “Old Town Road” is iconic. Sharing collaborators is common. Seeing the “Cellophane” choreographer collab with Lil Nas X is awesome (love a Satan dance). Sharing aesthetics and paying homage is part of the creative process. Collective consciousness exists.”
“Images are also expensive to make. Years of work went into the creation of “Cellophane,” from physical training to the emotional labor of unpacking Twigs’ life to construct images told her story of trauma and recovery. “Cellophane” was a confession in the most vulnerable sense.”
The statement from the director followed fans accusations that Lil Nas X plagiarized twigs’ video, noting that his pole dancing concept bore striking similarities to FKA twigs’ in the “Cellophane” visual.
“I wanted to see some things people have done in music videos with the pole—and I felt like twigs did a really amazing job at that,” Lil Nas X told TIME. “I wanted to do my own take on it.”
Huang said: “When an artist is in a position of power (amplified with the help of major record labels, social media, PR, etc) and repurposes someone’s labor and ideas to serve their brand image, they cause harm by displacing the efforts of the artists who did the original leg work.” He continued, “Intentional or not, copying other artists’ work happens. Making music videos is a labor of love. The demand for content pushed by major labels renders our work disposable and pits artists against each other. I urge the music community, particularly major record labels like @ColumbiaRecords to respect directors, uphold artistic accountability and honor the ingenuity of artists dedicating their blood sweat and tears to imagine better futures amidst a broken industry. We can do better.”
Huang added that while “twigs and Lil Nas are both doing important work,” it’s the record labels that benefit from their work. “The anger it stokes between artists just increases divisions between underrepresented artists. So I think there’s something larger and systemic here at work.”
Read the Twitter thread below.
I’m a fan of @LilNasX. “Old Town Road” is iconic. Sharing collaborators is common. Seeing the “Cellophane” choreographer collab with Lil Nas X is awesome (love a Satan dance). Sharing aesthetics and paying homage is part of the creative process. Collective consciousness exists.
— Andrew Thomas Huang (@Andrew_T_Huang) March 28, 2021