Earlier this week, as I was working/editing/writing/procrastinating after a long weekend on the road, I came across the new video for "Play Hard" by David Guetta. Now, I'm not much of a Guetta fan, but I don't dislike him either.
He makes radio-friendly pop songs disguised as house music (or is it house music disguised as pop songs?), and his formula -- dance beat + guest vocalists/rappers = profit!! -- is both adored and despised by music fans and critics across the globe. I'd lump him into the same category as The Black Eyed Peas and Pitbull: talented musicians who have "sold out," making crap music in order to make non-crappy millions of dollars.
In any case, after watching "Play Hard" for the first time, I was baffled and confused. Was this "one of the best videos of all time!" (sorry Beyonce & Taylor), or, as a Mexican-American, should I be offended by what I just saw? There are so many "What the Fuck" moments in this video, I had to play it five times in order to count them all.
The track itself is pretty good, taking a sample from Alice Deejay's 1998 hit "Better Off Alone." Akon delivers his auto-tuned rapping while Ne-Yo and his signature mini-fedora sing yet another hook on a mega-budget club anthem. This may not be the pinnacle of music, but there's always room for guilty pleasures on my Spotify playlists.
Many commenters on YouTube, mostly from Mexico, implored other users to click the dislike button because of the over-the-top, stereotypical, and overtly racist (in their eyes) portrayal of Mexico and Mexicans in the video.
I definitely understand the basis for their anger, and I agree that some of the visuals and characters may be politically incorrect, but we live in a world that celebrates caricatures, especially when it's "all in good fun."
Plus, shit like this really fucking happens in Mexico! Dudes in skinny jeans and pointy boots really do hold dance contests, dress in Tron-like outfits, and drink micheladas! Why make shit up when reality is so much more interesting?!
Here are my top WTF moments in the video:
0:02: Mara Salvatrucha? In a David Guetta dance music video? Okay, you have my attention.
0:36: Twerk Team! And poodles!
(0:56: What this video really needs is Ne-Yo eating a shitload of pancakes.)
0:57: ...and there you go!
1:14: Tattoo time!
1:24: Tribal Tron! Puro Escapade 2001 in Dallas, compa!
1:27: Okay, the lady in the gold mask is hella creepy.
1:50: Akon's entourage includes a narco-boss, an old white lady, and a shirtless Rick James impersonator. Best entourage ever!
1:53: Random giant banana. This video has EVERYTHING!
2:17: Mmmmm, paletas! Are those sandia?!
2:25: HOLY UNIBROW, BATMAN!
2:41: Are those... pink donkeys in the background? Interesting...
2:50: Pointy boot pyrotechnics. Fuck yea!
2:55: Les Twins! ( )
3:40: Holy crap... I think this kid hurt himself! Por Pendejo!
3:53: Smiling all the way to the bank!
The verdict? Is this the best video on YouTube right now? I'd say "Si!" Is it racist? No mames, guey! its just a YouTube video!
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.