Lady Gaga Intensifies Shock Value

Wendy Peters

Lady Gaga in one of her provocative posses
Lady Gaga in one of her provocative poses. The music industry should be more responsible with the artists and their expressions. Their expressions get lost with their sexual innuendo, poses and half-naked videos. Courtesy of mrjunkiexl / flickr

A few years ago, Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video was quintessential of the depths an “artist” would go to create controversy while at the same time lining their pockets on the backs of women. Never mind anything that has to do with decency because the concept of right and wrong is oftentimes lost in the music industry in order to clear the way for profits.

Times have not changed but rather have gone from one extreme to the other with Lady Gaga and the bizarre storyline in her latest video, “Telephone.” The video, bordering on pornography, exhibits the warped mindset of this wickedly possessed woman. The video is a sequel to her earlier Paparazzi video, where Gaga was thrown off a balcony by her lover. In this latest masterpiece, her short-lived stay in prison for the murder of her lover culminates in mass murder upon her release.

Like some artists, Gaga’s creative direction is counterproductive to social norms. Young adults view these videos and get lost in the messages. Although it is unlikely that someone would commit mass murder in the name of Lady Gaga, the possibility does exist. The longing of some to be just like some of these celebrities, gives way to the possibility that someone may go too far to arrive at this goal. Social responsibility is needed by the music industry to tame their artists and their artistic expressions.

Adding to the confusion, celebrities, once seen as socially responsible, join the madness like Beyonce, featured in the Telephone video as Gaga’s partner in crime. The two mega stars glamorize some of the most heinous acts in our society today. This is disturbing on a number of levels. Collaborations like these that produce such nonsense just to sell records are insulting. The influx of Hollywood-driven music videos in short film format has the potential to stir up interest among people again. Although it may not be enough to bring this industry back, the irresponsible messages in the videos that make it to the screen need to meet a higher moral standard.

Another case and point is the latest Erykha Badu video release. In an obviously desperate attempt to revitalize her career, Badu decided to strip naked in her music video. The striptease took place on a street in Dallas, leading to the location where John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Badu’s naked body then falls to the ground as a shot rings out. Really? Where is the decency?

Not surprising, Lady Gaga has captured the interest of Quentin Tarantino who is considering casting her as an assassin in an upcoming film. This will, no doubt, generate a Lady Gaga single on the movie soundtrack and matching video so we brace for more madness as she continues to travel deeper to the dark side.

As more of these artists attempt to revive their careers and others jockey to stay current, the shock value in music videos will continue to intensify. The desperation to sell records continues to create artists that will do whatever is necessary for profit. Unfortunately, young adults make up the fan base for many of these artists and the potential to influence is alive and social responsibility is needed.