The Rise and Fall of Video Vixen
Let’s go down memory lane, to the early 2000’s, when networks like MTV, VH1 and BET were being watched to see the newest music video drop by the hottest artists like Jay-Z, Nelly and G-Unit. In these videos, beautiful women take the spotlight, radiating beauty and confidence, outshining the artists themselves. (These models did not fit the societal definition of beauty. Video vixens were not in the pages of Cosmo, they were women who embraced their body and curves with an irresistible attitude. This was the rise of video vixens. They became the overall aesthetic for each music video and were just as popular as the artists themselves. Seeing women of color embracing and loving their bodies took the music industry by storm. The production became more detail-oriented and music videos were more like mini movies. A more detailed production meant expanding the budget, which wasn’t an issue since sales of physical copies of the music was high; and due to the popularity of these beautiful video vixens, they were getting paid like artists. They began living lavish lifestyles and essentially became the hip-hop of rock n roll. However, the era of social media began to rise and people could now stream music without paying for it. )
( Fast-forward to 2018 and music has changed substantially. The record stores with the latest CD’s are rare and music is now streamed on Apps with the touch of our fingertips. Because of these societal changes, the music industry hit an all time low. Smaller budgets not only affected production on the music video, but also the salary of the video vixens. The industry had changed, but what became of the video vixens? )
This was when the music industry transformed.
The era of physically buying music became the era of social media. Money was not coming in from CD releases and that meant they were spending money and not making enough of it, thus drastically decreasing budgets from music video productions. This meant video vixens were not getting paid their previous amounts. Directors began going to local strip clubs to find girls with bodies like the vixens, but for much cheaper. Instead of making over $10,000 per video, video vixens were now making less than $500. This capitalistic approach created the objectification of these women as disposable sex objects rather than video vixens. Overall, the platform changed and so did the people.
The rise of video vixens soon crashed. Once an embodiment of self-love now a mirror to an issue regarding the treatment of women in the industry. Music reflects the problems that society is too afraid to face. Although in transition, the music industry needs to respect women. The underpayment of women who are coaxed into these low-budget videos resulted into the fall of the male gaze and its power over the industry.