So M.I.A.'s graphic, nine-minute video for her new single “Born Free” was released like, at midnight. While you were sleeping, the interweb was going all crazy because the Romain Gavras-directed promo features a ton of violence and nudity.
Obviously not safe for viewing at work, the video has been banned from
Youtube in the U.S. Basically, the video portrays armed men rounding up redheaded teenage boys, and forcing them run through a wasteland littered with landmines. There's a very
graphic shot of a 12-year-old boy shot in the head, and another one of a boy blown up in a landmine, with his arm visibly flying through the
termed it a “brutal and brutally effective nine-minute
meditation on military violence, discrimination and government abuse of
power.” Uh, right. Watch the whole thing here. (NSFW! And could give you nightmares if you're redheaded!)
After the jump: Five of the most controversial music videos ever made.
1. “Body Language,” Queen
It's super tame now, but in 1982, Queen's disco/rock track, with its homoerotic undertones, soft core shots and sweaty bodies, was unacceptable to MTV. It's the first music video MTV ever banned.
2. “Like A Prayer,” Madonna
Madonna incensed many Catholics in 1989 for showing burning crosses, portraying herself with stigmata and doing it with a saint come to life. (Many people thought that Madonna was getting it on with Jesus instead of St. Martin de Porres.)
3. “Closer,” Nine Inch Nails
You'd think that a song that begins with “I wanna fuck you like an animal” would have a controversial music video. Well, it did. The 1994 music video, directed by Mark Romanek, mixed up religious imagery with sex, bondage, medical instruments and animals — stuff all nightmares are made of. A bit of trivia: the video is validated as art — it's in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.
Nine Inch Nails – Closer
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4. “Smack My Bitch Up,” The Prodigy
The 1997 Prodigy hit “Smack My Bitch Up” was originally banned by the BBC because it was said to promote violence against women. The video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, was filmed in first-person. It depicts a night out with general hellraising involved — drugs, alcohol, nudity, violence, strippers and gore. (Model Teresa May has a cameo as a stripper.) Watch out for the surprise ending.
“Smack My Bitch Up” was touted as the “Most Controversial Video” in MTV's history. It was nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards, and won Best Dance Video and Breakthrough Video.
5. “Telephone,” Lady Gaga
In this nine-minute video, Gaga runs the gamut of gratuitous talking points — masturbation, crazy-amazing costumes, murder. There's also something in it that wasn't in controversial videos of yore: product placement.