Ex-Disney Girl Defends Blackout-Sex Anthem

Like Erykah Badu last week, former Cheetah Girl Kiely Williams has sparked controversy with a music video. But this one may glamorize date rape.


That Williams used to be a Disney star (here she is looking fresh-faced in the Cheetah Girls's first movie) has only added to the furor over her very un-Disney song "Spectacular." For those of you having trouble deciphering the somewhat breathy lyrics, here's the chorus:

Last I remember I was face down
Ass up, clothes off, broke off, dozed off
Even though I'm not sure of his name
He could get it again if he wanted
Cause the sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular
The sex was spectacular

Williams also sings "What was I drinking, I can't believe I blacked out," and "I hope he used a rubber, or I'm a be in trouble, problem is I don't remember." As Amanda Hess of the Washington City Paper notes, the song is a little contradictory — how does she know the sex was so spectacular if "she doesn't remember the damn thing?" And isn't she (literally) singing the praises of a situation in which she couldn't have given consent? Hess asks,

How many pieces of popular music have to be written about how pushing booze on women until they vomit all over themselves and ultimately juuuust barely consent to having sex with you is sexy? Because these songs actually glamorize the behavior of rapists. And even if you're the elusive chick who happens to be into that, presenting this situation as "spectacular" is both a) not particularly interesting, as far as pop music is concerned, and b) harmful to all the women who wake up in that same situation and have a much different descriptor for the sex: "rape."

Williams herself has a different take. She's released a statement in which she compares the controversy to that over Rihanna's "Russian Roulette," and explains,

Young women across the country get intoxicated and have unprotected sex. That's a fact. I recorded the song to bring attention to this frighteningly prevalent activity. It is absurd to infer or suggest that I am condoning this behavior. [...] I wrote Spectacular and made the video to bring attention to a serious womens health and safety issue. Please dont shoot the messenger.


The video, replete with gyrations, sighs, and hot pants, is hardly a public service announcement, and it's a little hard to take it seriously as a way of opening debate. And confusingly, Williams also says we shouldn't take it seriously. She posted this video response to her website this morning:

She says "music can be as simple as a story relayed" and "not every song has a greater message." But then she adds, "I also do know a lot of twentysomethings who go out and get a little bit too drunk and go home with a guy whose name they can't quite remember [...] and maybe it's something that we all do need to talk about more." And she winds up, once again, with "Don't shoot the messenger." It's certainly true that not every song has to be politically exemplary, and that young people shouldn't necessarily look to pop music for life lessons. But if Williams is going to call herself a "messenger," she opens herself up to criticism about her message — which appears to be that blackout sex is hot.


Date Rape Anthem: Kiely Williams' "Spectacular" [Washington City Paper Sexist Blog]
Kiely Williams Cares [Dlisted]
Kiely's World [Official Site]



You know the thing is that male rock stars and rap artists have been writing songs with shitty messages about sex and relationships for years and almost never get shit about it.

Hell, "Brown Sugar" is about the joys of whipping black slave girls and it's played on the radio all the fucking time.

And hell even Buddy Holly had some bad ideas. Consider:

"I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be.

You're gonna make sweet love to me."

That could easily be read as pro date rape.

So, my general thought is why shouldn't women also write rock or rap songs with stupid sexual messages.

As it stands this song doesn't seem to me to be so much a celebration of date rape as much as it is a story of a girl with a date rape fetish (which is how the sex could be "spectacular.")

I have a female friend who is into what she calls "Ambien Sex" which means she takes just enough Ambien so that she's helpless and slightly hallucinating and then her boyfriend screws her. She likes feeling helpless and taken advantage of, even though she admits that sometimes she can't remember most of the experience.

This seems to be a bit like that. And, yeah, it's sorta stupid unless you really know the guy (which the girl in the song clearly doesn't) but people do stupid things all the time to satisfy fetishes.

And, at the end of the day pop songs are fluff and don't really influence behavior that much.

If they did Prince and Madonna would have had a lot to answer for back in the 80s.