• Sun, Nov 4 2012

I Actually Really Respect How No Doubt Is Handling This Native American Video Controversy

So by now you’ve probably heard about the controversy with No Doubt and their new video offending the Native American community. If not, here’s a quick synopsis: the band released a video for their newest single ‘Looking Hot’, which has an Old West theme, with people dressed up as Native Americans, cowboys, bandits, etcetera, with tee-pees and fire dancing, and the whole nine yards. Anyway. People didn’t like it, for a variety of reasons, but the main one cited was that the video was a misappropriation of Native American culture, since no one in the band is a part of that culture. Okay, sure. Totally valid. I wasn’t particularly offended by the video, but I can appreciate that it isn’t in the best taste. If you find yourself putting a feather in your hair, you should have that same moment as if you find yourself putting brown paint on your face — is this necessary? And no, it wasn’t, really. There are no themes of that in the song, it was just a layer added on top for the video, and it offended people. Great. Your move, No Doubt.

But what’s cool is that even though they obviously didn’t agree, since they were the ones who put out the video in the first place, I think they reacted in a really awesome way. First of all they’ve taken down all the official versions of the video (although if you want to watch it, ’tis here),which is great because it wasn’t really necessary. The video isn’t breaking any laws of any kind, so it would’ve been really easy for the band to leave it up and bask in the free publicity it got from all the uproar. I can think of a lot of groups that would be tempted to do something like that, and I really respect and appreciate the fact that No Doubt isn’t one of them.

In addition, they issued the following statement:

“As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness.  We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.”

I love that. I love that they can acknowledge that they misjudged the effect of their video. I totally get how things like that can happen — you’re all working on the same project and it gets really insular, and nobody thinks to step back for a second and go, “Wait a minute, could this be construed as offensive?” But the band listened to their fans and pulled the video, and apologized for offending people. Sure, their judgement is a little iffy, but this whole incident has actually given me a newfound respect for the band.

Way to be adults, guys. Just maybe next time go easy on the whole…race issue, yeah? Cool.

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