I’m a huge devotee of R&B/hip hop music videos because they touch me in a real-life kinda way. Take, for example, this little number from Usher entitled, ‘Yeah’.
Our man – looking like no popcorn-pointing usher I’ve seen of late… but no matter – lays down a salutary tale to unsuspecting young male urban types – fellas, beware of predatory females who will drag you kicking and screaming to the dancefloor, dispose of their party frocks and practice their naked Twister moves on you. Phew. Clearly, this is a problem of epidemic proportions and I for one am all ears when a man of Usher’s stature is willing to speak out.
Naturally, social discourse, no matter how worthy, needs a catchy vehicle upon which to convey its message. Thankfully Usher has crafted an iconic ‘80s-style synth riff (that helpfully loops ad infinitum, just in case you missed it the first 78 times) to ensure his target audience is in the listening mood. Also, the lads have managed to locate a number of civic-minded ladies willing to role-play the offending scenes. And I have to say they play the part of ‘disco-addled Twister sisters’ with admirable believability – booties are shaken to the point where you fear body parts will come loose.
Just to ensure the message is crystal clear, Usher is sporadically joined by a thickset homie sporting the latest in enormo-fatigues, clutching (rather enigmatically) a half Jeroboam of Demi-Sec Champagne. All is revealed, though, when the perfectly acceptable bottle of plonk is messily uncorked over Usher’s laser-strewn dancefloor to the lyrics “she’s ready to blow”. As an aside, it was only last Friday that an overly-refreshed mate spilled my drink and I gotta say, it’s a real downer. But, to Usher’s credit, he remains impassive, despite knowing full well that the puddles of sparkling wine are not going to do much for the fanciness of his footwork.
The scene in the disco continues to be painted with a delicate brush. Rapper Ludicris (sporting the latest in Glad Super-Tuff bin-liner couture) uncompromisingly admonishes the diaphanous dames with the Energiser Bunny butts. Less explicable is the brief but pathos-laden cameo from a bowtie-wearing dandy clutching a violin – probably strayed in from the Outkast shoot next door.
Finally, Usher goes on to ram home the dicey-ness of his predicament when the camera transports us to a scene that we must assume is the predatrix’s home. It’s nothing short of a grimy squat and I’d seriously doubt if the boys from Law & Order CSI would darken the door without some serious backup. No wonder Usher is looking a bit edgy… and for good reason. Our hero is ambushed by the crazy chick and snogged to within an inch of his life.
The lesson? Beware, brother, beware. ‘Yeah’ has got my vote for its sense of social responsibility. It wouldn’t surprise me if Usher goes onto tackle other unfashionable yet important issues that impact on our young men – erectile dysfunction, forgetting Mother’s Day… that sort of thing.
File next to ‘Reefer Madness’. – CH