MUSIC

13 of the Most Controversial Music Videos Ever

From Kanye West to Madonna, these gory and graphic clips got people talking — for better or for worse.

Music videos are a perfect opportunity to expand the story of a song.

The best music videos can showcase killer choreography, Halloween-ready attire, or movie levels of cinematic gold; others can spark controversies, no matter how well-intended. Whether centered around copious bloodshed or near-pornographic nudity (sorry, Mom and Dad), there's one thing all controversial music videos have in common: They get people talking.

Here are 13 music videos released over the past 30-plus years that have sparked disputes. Watch at your own risk.

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Azealia Banks is not a reliable source of information.

The "212" rapper has engaged in countless social media feuds with everyone from Rihanna to Sia to Disney Channel star Skai Jackson (who was 14 at the time…). She has claimed to perform animal sacrifices as part of witchcraft rituals, once labelled Lizzo a "millennial mammy," and has been kicked off Twitter more than once for spouting homophobic slurs. She defended Donald Trump's "Muslim ban" and told him she is "proud as f***" of him as a fellow Gemini for winning the 2016 election, but later called him "a f***ing idiot" and "disqualified" him from his Gemini status.

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Music Features

Lorde, Sia, Pearl Jam, and More Demand Politicians Stop Playing Music Without Permission

A new letter from the Artist Rights Alliance demands that politicians receive permission for the political use of music.

Update 8/4/2020: Canadian-American singer-songwriter Neil Young has filed a copyright infringement suit against Donald Trump's presidential campaign for the use of his songs "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Devil's Sidewalk" without a license. The Trump campaign reportedly played the songs at the June 20th rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it's suspected that the late entrepreneur and Republican political figure Herman Cain contracted COVID-19.

The suit states that Young "cannot allow his music to be used as a 'theme song' for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate." The lawsuit will serve as a test case for license exclusions in the case of political events.

Imagine pouring your hard work, your talent, and your heartfelt emotions into a work of art for all of humanity to enjoy, only to have it co-opted by a symbol of hatred and division.

For a stunning number of musicians who vehemently oppose Donald Trump's presidency, that is exactly what has happened in recent years. Despite repeated statements that they don't want their music played at his political rallies, Donald Trump's re-election campaign has continued to use music from artists like Adele, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Pharrell Williams, Axl Rose, and honestly too many others to mention.

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Sia is finally back with new music.

The pop singer-songwriter famous for her long blonde bangs has just released "Together," a new single from her forthcoming album and film, both of which are titled "Music." The new rainbow-colored music video features Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Sia's longtime muse, Maddie Ziegler.

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My most vivid memory involving "Chandelier," Sia's 2014 power ballad to end all power ballads, occurred during my first semester of college.

I was in a friend's dorm room, standing on their couch as I belted the hit so loudly that the RA had to come by to tell us to pipe down. I probably sounded fairly similar to this cursed video I found on Twitter last night, in which Toad, everyone's favorite mushroom from the Mario universe, gives an incredibly passionate karaoke rendition of "Chandelier." Take a listen for yourself.

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Culture Feature

The Many Problems with "Autism Speaks"

While Autism Speaks is certainly the most well-known "autism advocacy" organization, it's almost universally despised by people who actually have autism.

While Autism Speaks is certainly the most well-known "autism advocacy" organization, it's almost universally despised by people who actually have autism.

Recently, Sia came under much scrutiny for her upcoming film, Music, which stars Kate Hudson as an older sister who assumes guardianship over her younger sister who's non-verbal and on the autism spectrum. Two deeply contentious problems with that: Music is played by Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical actress; and Sia consulted with Autism Speaks for the film.

When the online autistic community voiced their displeasure at Sia's casting and consulting choices, she responded defensively:


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