1.02.2014

Thoughts?



On the Blasian Narrative, I was alerted to this new video from Rain (of Raizo/Mika Ninja Assassin infamy), which features a lot of Black women. A commenter mentioned feeling offended by both the shadow's expansion of the Black woman's breasts and behind. They were also offended by the Black dancer with the face paint.

On the one hand, I find the trick with the shadow annoyingly juvenile, but I was less offended by it and more offended by the sight of stick-figures trying to "shake it." When you're a dancer like Rain (who's a huge fan of Beyonce and has explicitly stated he prefers women to a be little chubby), you want women who can actually shake it in your video. So when the Powers That Be hire a bony army of "dancers", I can see why you'd take shots, so to speak, because no one watching those twigs trying to "get down" will take your video seriously.

As for the dancer with the face paint...she looked African. We've been painting our faces for thousands of years; it common to do so before a dance and there's nothing "dehumanizing" about featuring a valid dancer with a traditional sense of style.  I didn't even bat an eyelash.  Growing up in the US, I noticed a lot of African Americans rejected their African heritage because to them "African" automatically = "savage", and they didn't want the reminder nor the association.  Needless to say, that subconscious avoidance still exists.

42 comments:

  1. I was trying to picture what Nanaotua was talking about and when I looked at it and was like Okay..what's up with that?.. the part where the lady's breast and butt grows? Indeed not a good look for Rain's video.

    I'll tell you something else ..another good point that Myra brought up about the connection of people in the video. I thought that I was seeing things but segregation seem to be apparent in his video.The Korean dancers is one place while the Black ones are in another. Man, his management must have given him a tongue lashing after having those Black dancers in his other video because you don't see any of the Black dancers dancing with him. I agree those girls looked like twigs dancing. It just seem like there just to do a job and not giving it their all.

    Maybe he want to appear to look less like a Kpop singer and be taken seriously as a mature international singer..idk but as long as the racial segregation and sexual hypersexualization is the predominant theme with Black women in them, its going to be a problem.

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    1. So I wasn't the only one :) After seeing the screen caps I did realize that the facepaint girl was dancing around Koreans but they showed her in the beginning for just like half a second... I don't remember the last scenes.

      Yeah...the "I'm not a regular kpop idol cuz look I'm so raw and wild, but I'm not challenging anything and just going with the established rules". Rain, you're not only one who tries to sell us that.

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  2. Maybe he want to appear to look less like a Kpop singer and be taken seriously as a mature international singer

    *chuckles* Not today. This was just another K-Pop vid through and through.

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  3. I agree those girls looked like twigs dancing. It just seem like there just to do a job and not giving it their all.-I noticed this a LOOOONNNNGGG time ago in his (and others) videos. The female dancers have the steps down, but their eyes are dead. They do not seem to be enjoying themselves. To be honest some looked drugged the daze look in their eyes is so strong.

    What is funny is not to long ago a female group debuted and their main thing was twerking. (yeah I know) Everyone kept commenting that you can't be skinny and twerk. It was like watching a broom!. Bless their hearts.

    As Ankh said though this is for the Korean audience plain and simple.

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    1. I don't think the issue is so much that you can't be skinny and twerk so much as so many people cannot isolate the movement of their hips from the rest of their bodies. What I've noticed a LOT is that a lot of less pigmented people move their entire bodies when attempting to emulate movements that should ONLY involve your hips and/or a$$. I read a description of Miley Cyrus and some other white girls twerking that described the movement as looking like they were cleaning a glass door with their flat bottoms. And that is exactly it. You could find a tiny black girl who doesn't have much junk in the trunk who can convincingly twerk b/c she can isolate the movement of her body parts.
      I've had friends who look like they are having seizures when they attempt certain moves. I'm not even a good dancer but cannot understand how moving your hips and nothing else or you ass and nothing else is so hard. Does it help when there is something back there that you can fee/shake? Sure. But that's not what makes it possible to shake it. It just makes it better to look at...

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  4. I have many thoughts on this, the whole situation has me seriously heated and I don't even know why.

    I'm also going to have to disagree with you Ankh. For one, I think it's more than just juvenile considering the history of the non-Africans viewing, dissecting and mocking the Black woman's body.

    I also think it's strange that you'd be more offended by "stick-figures trying to shake it". Unless I'm getting you wrong and you're just saying that they couldn't dance and not so much making a comment on their body types. The beauty of the dances that involve "shaking it" among African people is that it is not limited to body type, any youtube video of Igbo girls dancing nwabede or those Swahili music videos with chakacha will dispel the myth that you have to be thick or chubby to shake it. I've seen wonderful dancers shaking it who are thin and have "flat" bums as much as I've seen great fat and thick dancers. Petite and skinny figures are as African as thickness to me, I've been called fat all my life by family members and I'm a size 8. The same thing with girls in school, I was one of the "bigger" girls so for a long time I considered myself chubby.

    I believe Rain is at that point in his career where he can call the shots, and that he has been for a while. If he wanted chubby women in his video, I think we'd be seeing chubby women in it.

    The issue with the face paint is this...Africa is a pretty huge place. In this era of jeans and skirts, it's harder to tell which part of Africa a person is from, but when they switch to their traditional dress it becomes easier. The clothes, the jewellery, the colours, the make-up, the scarification, the face paint, they should all point to a certain region or ethnic group. Right? It's why we can tell who is Fulani from the facial tattoos for example. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir as I feel you know all of this already.

    Which part of Africa does the face paint shown in this video come from? Definitely not any part recognisable to me but I'm just one Nigerian so some other African should be able to answer, I'll wait. People are out here thinking they can just rub any sort of paint on their face and that makes it "African". Well, how so? Is it enough that a Black woman who happens to look African has some paint on her face? So if a Korean artist that put that on the Black woman's face that makes it authentic?

    If this was a music video by Black people, I won't even be talking about the face paint. I know some people take offence with Black folks in the Diaspora wearing face paint, I personally don't. But this video was shot in Korea. It doesn't make sense to me that a Korean make up artist would paint a Black woman's face and this would be a "traditional sense of style" because it is on a woman that looks African. My people don't wear face paint, even though in the past we did have facial tattoos, and I'd be pissed if someone came to put paint on my face in the name of Africa. Really when I think of face paint in the West African context it's before wrestling, during initiation rites or for beauty purposes...none of which resemble what is shown in this video.

    It's like those Asians that buy African art and knowingly mislabel them, calling Akan fertility dolls South African. That is not only wrong, but damaging because Africa is not a country. Now that is the sort of thing that someone can label dehumanising, even though I personally wouldn't. Fucked up, irritating, Africa is a country syndrome are more my kind of labels. There's no generic "Africa", and Africans seem to be as likely to generalise about ourselves as non-Africans. This is something we really need to stop doing.

    I'll stop here before I go on and write a 10 page essay.

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    1. I have many thoughts on this, the whole situation has me seriously heated and I don't even know why.

      And that's something you may want to deal with first. This has you livid. Why? In other words, why was this video so important to you that its embarrassing failure has you so furious? Maybe answering that will not only help you realize what's ticking you off so much, but that this isn't nearly as important as you're making it out to be.

      Two, what do we know about the dancer with the face paint other than she's supposedly posted it to her Facebook and is proud of her work? We don't know her, what motivates/inspires hers style; we can only look at her in the split seconds she's on screen and make conjecture. For example, the more I look at her, the more I think Afro-Caribbean/American street dance fusion, which has been around for at least 2-3 decades now. I remember seeing dancers sort of like her on stage and TV and at festivals while growing up here in the US. Whatever the take on her, she's the very least of this video's problems.

      I also think it's strange that you'd be more offended by "stick-figures trying to shake it". Unless I'm getting you wrong and you're just saying that they couldn't dance and not so much making a comment on their body types.

      Girl, they couldn't dance. Sure, my personal preference states that if you're gonna jiggle it, you need to at least have something to jiggle, not "rattle" as an old schoolmate of mine used to see. But the crux of their problem is that they just couldn't dance.

      I believe Rain is at that point in his career where he can call the shots, and that he has been for a while.

      Rain calls the shots in his career, just like Jay Park calls the shots in his career. Yet Jay Park knows better than to take Mauika Hicks out on tour with him beyond the US. Rain is a Korean pop artists whose core audience is Korean and female. So although he calls the shots in his career, he's still at the mercy of his core audience.

      Look at it like this: I'm an independent writer. I can write whatever I want. My target audience is POC. In my original work, I generally prefer to write stories with no white characters because to me, white people aren't a factor as an audience. My core audience is Black and female, and the very reason I started these blogs (and follow so many others) was to get to know said audience as well as I can. And I learned very quickly that even though I technically can write I want, if I want my core audience to back me and up and spend its money, I most assuredly cannot just do whatever the hell I wanna do. Creating a viable product involves a lot of strategy.

      The more I watch this video, the more props I find myself giving to the director. But other than that, my verdict tends to remain the same: I've never been a fan of Rain's music and have generally preferred to watch him either just dance or kill people. He is a K-Pop artist, and I find K-Pop diluted and childish. To be honest, I don't even really like to call it "music." Furthermore, Rain's getting old for a popstar, and as expected, losing his touch. It's like watching him have a mid-career/life crisis as he strives to be #1 again.

      This is a K-Pop video, despite Rain's attempt to "transcend." It's just another sucky K-Pop video, one amongst many, and yes...the great and legendary Rain himself made it. Hence why I roll my eyes and turn my attention back to my own shores here in the US where, like I said before, we have our own music industry problems which we need to look to.

      The AMAs were a farce and have been for some time. I mean, this is the award ceremony which once favored Taylor Swift over Michael Jackson. Like I said, we got problems, and K-Pop is the least of mine.

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    2. "Rain is a Korean pop artist whose core audience is Korean and female."

      You know, I'd actually challenge you on the first point. My sense, after living in Korea, is that Rain is kinda old hat at this point. All pop culture is, essentially, a young person's game. And in a country that's as obsessed with youth and beauty as Korea, and in an industry where the profit model is based on quick replication and quantity rather than quality, the shelf life of a pop music entertainer in Korea seems necessarily limited. I taught at a high school in a very large city, and truthfully, none of my students were even remotely checking for Rain. For the most part, they had a very short cultural memory (like most adolescents), and their tastes and preferences would change according to the latest debut of the month. It was stupefying, really. Imagine some microscopically altered iteration of the Backstreet Boys (I'm old, so that's my only reference) debuting every few weeks, and teenagers declaring Backstreet Boys 5.0, superior to the Backstreet Boys 4.0 that debuted only a few months earlier. And the well just seems bottomless. So, my sense (and I don't have any hard numbers, so, grain of salt and all) is that Rain's cache as a K-Pop artist is stronger in SE Asia at this point. Malaysia, the Philippines, etc. seem to have less of a developed pop music industry, and Rain seems to fill that vacuum quite conveniently.

      That song and video are cringeworthy, and I'm kinda embarrassed FOR him. Maybe because we've been beaten over the head with an endless stream of Beyoncé these past few weeks in N. America, but some of the imagery in that video seems to have taken a cue from her (that silhouetted ass shot is giving me 'Grown Woman' vibes).

      I'm puzzled by Rain's refusal to transition out of his role as a performer, and into a more statesmanlike role as an executive. His good looks, wealth, and celebrity would enable him to do just about anything in Korea. At this point, he should be producing films, or running a top tier talent agency. In other words, he should let other people dance and sing and act themselves into a sweat while he collects a cut. Just because the man CAN still cut a rug, doesn't mean that he SHOULD cut a rug. Premature midlife crisis, indeed.


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    3. Rain's cache as a K-Pop artist is stronger in SE Asia at this point. Malaysia, the Philippines, etc. seem to have less of a developed pop music industry, and Rain seems to fill that vacuum quite conveniently.

      In other words, he's still not here for us.

      I'm puzzled by Rain's refusal to transition out of his role as a performer, and into a more statesmanlike role as an executive....Premature midlife crisis, indeed.

      *shrugs* I'm sayin'!!!!

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    4. @Ankhesen-In other words, he's still not here for us.-Girl our OWN artists aren't here for us!

      I think he is trying to get back the Korean fans he had before the whole military fiasco happened. Also people are still PO'd that he is with KTH. Maybe he is just trying to make money to get the heck out of dodge (or this case Korea).

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    5. "I've never been a fan of Rain's music and have generally preferred to watch him either just dance or kill people."

      > Same here lol OK, I must confess I expected some sexy dance moves for this video...disappointed. *goes re-watch his hotter vids*

      "their tastes and preferences would change according to the latest debut of the month."

      > Really? I can't compare it to the youth in my country but I know a few teens and their tastes don't change that fast on a regular basis...I think? It's like very short-term consumption to me.

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    6. Girl our OWN artists aren't here for us!

      And therein lies my core point. We have our industry problems, and we need to get ourselves situated too. In a way, we helped create the problem because whom do these K-Pop artists try to emulate?

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  5. I have to say I'm very surprised by what I'm reading here, Ankh.

    I'm not a huge fan of K-pop - I've never even listened to the stuff very much - and what I know about it is what I've read on the BN. But even I recognize the offensive themes in that video. Like, her breasts and butt swell? Come on, now. And about that "African" paint...well, I'm an American, so I'll just have to take your word about the paint stuff, but even so, I doubt that that was the motivation behind that. To me, it says clearly "ooh, freaky African, look at the crazy face paint."

    But all that aside, I was really surprised by your assertion that because K-Pop's audience is Korean, we should ignore this and do stuff in our own countries. Ummm...wasn't that what the white fangirls were saying every time we were vocal about wanting representation? Remember when they were like "K-pop isn't for you" and "stop forcing yourselves on them"? And you said that it was only fair for us to expect respectful treatment since they were borrowing heavily from African Americans to make this music and that we deserved to be desired and represented as real women too?

    What happened between then and now? Now our contributions to this genre don't mean anything and we're being too sensitive about our disrespectful treatment? We can't complain about K-Pop's commodification of us until everything is perfect representation-wise in our home countries? Really?

    I don't know, I guess I just don't think Black women should continue promoting the music of/sharing videos of/tweeting/social media-ing about these artists if our contributions are so ill-valued. I mean, if we're just unimportant overseas fans, Rain and do without us, right?

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    1. But all that aside, I was really surprised by your assertion that because K-Pop's audience is Korean, we should ignore this and do stuff in our own countries.

      Is that what I said?

      1) K-Pop is called K-Pop for a reason. Korean Pop is primarily for Koreans, and until it transitions into simply "pop," that's a convenient obstacle we won't be able to remove.

      2) I live in the US, and we've got our own problems where POC are considered, and we - who are in the US, that is - need to pay attention to those problems more so than we do K-Pop. I've noticed that Robert Darrien and I try to highlight independent artists in the US (and I did interview a black metal guitarist from Botswana) who do things right, and those posts get 2-3 comments if we're lucky. I've started multiple series At the Bar, and they get almost no love. And usually it's just him and me responding to each other. But let somebody just mention K-Pop and that convo goes on for days (case in point).

      3) I have repeatedly confirmed this video sucks, and that Rain needs to go somewhere. I'm just not livid about the latest in a very long line of K-pop hit-and-misses. This is business usual, but from an industry perspective, it's not our business and we don't have sufficient say. So for now, let's support our independent & and mainstream POC artists in the US who do things right and are fighting an uphill battle. That's our business. We most definitely have say there.

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    2. That's true, especially your second point. I did felt bad about the lack of interest in his series of interviews on the BN blog. I usually read them but then I think that when we are discovering an artist with little material on display (which is normal, we're not going to post his whole discography), it gets more difficult to engage in a long and animated dialogue in the comment section. If there's no issue or problematic stuff about the artist then it's harder to say something besides "cool" and "thank you".
      Kpop, on the other hand, is usually a heated debate because many commenters are familiar with it and then can criticize and argue at lenght about the content of the said blog post.

      I do thank you and Robert Darrien for putting the effort to interview these independent and underrated artists. It's nice to see so many of them out there with faith in what they do. OK, I may have an excuse as I'm not American, and not listening to much hip hop these days (I really like the genre though) but yeah, I understand your disappointment. I used to spend hours searching for less famous artists, and when I found interesting ones, I shared their music with people online, sometimes in real life as well. I'm a music lover, and when I'm not busy I try to stay up to date and not be lazy.

      I kinda gave up on the music entertainment of my country, tired of seeing black female singers pushed on the side after a hit song or 2, tired of seeing non black female singers singing like us and dancing like us and getting all the spotlight and awards, tired of seeing black women struggling to get out of anonymity no matter how beautiful and talented they are. I'm not sure what I should do to help...I think there's nothing I can do. At least in my country we're not shown with large bottoms and big boobs. We're not told we are "ghetto" nor "angry". We're just not genuinely desired on TV in general (without being invisible tho). So I support black American, British (etc) female singers and try to broaden my curiosity to sistas from other countries. I feel you and the other black Americans who are represented wrongly in the world, and suffer from it even more as some countries emulate the clichés.

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    3. And one thing that is sad is that pop music around the world always have a lot of media play and online resources such as blogs when people can watch, download, discuss, etc.
      The other day I asked an African young woman if she knew a blog where we can download or watch music from all over Africa. She told me she knew none. Asia? There's plenty of exhaustive sites about Asian music. But not for Africa, probably not for the Caribbean eiher. I did my search and didn't find something organized, "broad" AND totally free.

      Back to American POC indie artists...it's difficult to find them, and people don't have much time or desire to look for them on google, especially if they obviously don't have a lot of following/popularity to convince the average listener to give them a try. Sadly. If any of you know independent artists websites, all around the world, I'd LOVE to bookmark them and explore them. I don't mind wasting a saturday afternoon searching for music, for real, but nowadays I've been busy.

      What about...making posts about the same (10?) artists several times a year (reviewing their songs, lyrics and progress/growth)? Or making a post like the best indie hip hop artists of 2014? If we get used to see such posts in a more repetitive and attractive fashion I think viewers might be more interested as they could focus on a few musicians.

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    4. I'm with you about the limited availability of indie artist or artist around the world in the diaspora. The funny thing is even Korea's own musicians that are not Kpop have a hard time since the government doesn't back them like they do kpop. I am finding that tumblr has been a good source for me & my taste. The reality of the US Entertainment industry.... It's like where do u begin? As of 2013 there are no more black owned media outlets. The music execs knew that white males were the biggest consumers of Hip Hop so they catered to them. We already know the mess with Hollywood that's not going to change unless all of it goes bankrupt. Then the fact that radio, tv, etc... Are coming from 6-7 conglomerates which eliminates variety and has been a problem for over a decade. Sometimes I want all of it to crash & burn.

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  6. I'm an independent writer. I can write whatever I want. My target audience is POC. In my original work, I generally prefer to write stories with no white characters because to me, white people aren't a factor as an audience. My core audience is Black and female, and the very reason I started these blogs (and follow so many others) was to get to know said audience as well as I can. And I learned very quickly that even though I technically can write I want, if I want my core audience to back me and up and spend its money, I most assuredly cannot just do whatever the hell I wanna do. Creating a viable product involves a lot of strategy.

    GURL. ALLADIS. DA TRUTH HAS BEEN TOLD THIS HEAH DAY!!!

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    1. Remember all the stuff we left on the cutting floor for our first Anthology?

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  7. I am definitely one of the persons who is offended by this video; since as a Black person I was considered as less than human and not to be valued in the 1950's and 1960's. The Asian continent has as much or more caste and class prejudice as anyone in the world. I do not see them as trying to accomplish something positive and indeed believe them to be using White face in a racially negative way. Also since African or Black "butts" have not been seen as positive in any Asian community that I know, and indeed they have a belief that "European butts" are more beautiful, I do not in any way see this exaggeration as okay or positive. Nor do I believe they have ever seen a real human being with such exaggerated characteristics. So why are thy allowed to get away with it? Are we still so indoctrinated with self hatred that we would believe this to be appropriate or okay? It and they should be banned from the internet. I dare say you would not be allowed to place such a negative video against Asians on any website, Asian or American and get away with it!

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    1. @aztobs-It and they should be banned from the internet. I dare say you would not be allowed to place such a negative video against Asians on any website, Asian or American and get away with it!

      As someone else posted on the Narrative then the majority of Hip-hop, R&B, reggaeton etc also need to be banned. We can't tell others not to do something and sit there quietly while our own get away with it!

      Its wrong period when women regardless of race are portrayed as "things"!

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  8. I can't help but agree about bony women, though I wouldn't phrase my concern this way.

    Korean women with curves and thick legs do exist, yet kpop execs don't want to show them, that's problematic to me. I have nothing against slim and thin women but they're not the only attractive women out there. Also, why couldn't rain find dancers whose speciality is twerk? He (or his team) sure did find skilled male hip hop dancers. Is there really a shortage of professionals in the dance arena in those lesser known genres? I've seen some Japanese female dancers do it all on youtube so why not Koreans? Seriously, kpop execs have no problem with hiring female dancers who don't know sh*t about twerk and other unpopular dances. Why lowering their standards? Because it's kpop, their audience wouldn't notice the difference or bother as it's not what kpop is about. OR they don't want to traumatize those "innocent" Korean teens...LMAO now I understand that *just kidding*
    The Japanese female dancers I saw on youtube looked professional enough, they did a good job with what nature gave them so my main issue is about professionalism (or lack thereof in Rain's video) and not bothering to take certain dances seriously. And yes, I'd rather see thick female dancers doing it, especially black women (I mean in general, not really in Rain's video).

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    1. Korean women with curves and thick legs do exist, yet kpop execs don't want to show them, that's problematic to me.

      Because despite protests to the contrary, the Eastern male is catering to the Western male's Asian fetish in order to make that money. Skinny, child-like women who struggle to properly “twerk” are a lot less intimidating then fully grown, delectable women can really shake it. That’s why despite the Korean tendency to sing Black music, they don’t want to actually incorporate too many Black women (or men) who might scare off white fetish money. And fetishists love K-pop videos.

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  9. I found the shadow with the woman's butt and breast growing after he kissed/blew on her mouth to be very offensive. Like once again Black women are being mocked for just existing. Yes some of us have round/large butts/breasts but that doesn't mean they should be played for cheap laughs.

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  10. I watched this sad excuse for a video after I read all the comments and noticed that it wasn't just the black girl with paint on her face. There were at least 4 or 5 other folks that had various paint designs on their face so I'm guessing it was a sad attempt at showing their village's uniqueness.
    If Rain has such magical powers to kiss a girl and her boobs and butt grow, he should have kissed all of his dancers.
    I really wish he would just make movies and look good. Is some eye-candy too much to ask for?

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    1. If Rain has such magical powers to kiss a girl and her boobs and butt grow, he should have kissed all of his dancers.

      Honestly, I thought this as well.

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  11. *deep breath and sigh* I'm just tired, Ankh. Very tired. And more than a bit disappointed, but mainly tired of this trope from here, overseas, etc.

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  12. According to him the video is supposedly set in Brazil.

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    1. Which explains the odd sense of "I've seen something like this before" that I keep feeling.

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  13. Well Rain has opened the floodgates!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACsphT8afOw

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    1. Ankh? I'm afraid to click. What did you see?

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    2. Every time I try to get on there it keeps telling me that I made an invalid request. I'll just ask is it positive, negative, or both? Hopefully, I'll be able to see it.

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    3. Y'all...it can't be told. It has to be seen.

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    4. I found this link. It should work. It starts out good and I'll leave it at that. You might want to put a cushion under your jaw though.

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    5. *watches*.........WHY?!

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  14. Oops!

    http://www.allkpop.com/article/2014/01/spica-level-up-the-anticipation-surrounding-comeback-with-you-dont-love-me-mv-teaser#axzz2oyX1gcWO

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  15. Lord! (Finally seen the video)

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    1. As I said at first I was like man she has a pretty good voice and I liked the beat. Then THAT happened. I think I'm going back to the 80s and just staying there music wise

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