Bebe Rexha Is Being DRAGGED For Her Depiction Of Mental Illness In Her New Video
20 July 2018, 17:25
The internet is not into it...
Bebe Rexha is having an amazing year. After writing smash hits for artists including Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, the 'Me, Myself & I' singer has now become a star in her own right. The 28 year old dropped her debut album Expectations in June and just recently earned the biggest single of her career to date ('Meant to Be' reached Number 2 in the US this March). On top of that, her new single 'I'm A Mess' is already charting high around the world.
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However, Bebe's newfound fame hasn't come without controversy. In May, her collaboration 'Girls' with Rita Ora, Charli XCX and Cardi B was labeled as "tone-deaf" by Hayley Kiyoko. Earlier this month, she made headlines again after referring to RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 finalists as "cold" on Twitter. Now, her latest music video has come under fire for its depiction of mental illness.
Watch the controversial 'I'm A Mess' video here.
Bebe released the 'I'm A Mess' music video July 19. The visual is set in a mental hospital and it sees Bebe act in a variety of roles, including a patient and a therapist. Not only that, but it also stars a variety of extras playing characters with different forms of mental illness. Not to mention, some highly stylised erratic choreography and close-ups of Bebe.
Unsurprisingly, many of the responses to the video have been negative. It's not the first music video to be set in an asylum but considering recent conversations surrounding mental health, people are quicker to call out what's problematic these days. Here are just a view of the reactions the visual.
Some have called it 'triggering'.
Bebe Rexha recently released a music video with like the extremely triggering outdated mental hospital themes and imagery I’m not gonna say I warned you all but......— mark (@STUPlDTHOT) July 19, 2018
It's easy to see why people are offended by it.
Others think that it sensationalises mental illness.
@BebeRexha noah fence but being in the psychiatric unit is far from trendy so i'm going to need you to not glamourize seeking treatment for mental health issues— كارمن (@sibel3yn) July 19, 2018
There is nothing glamorous about being held in a mental hospital.
One or two people have referred to it as a 'disaster'.
This video could have been made with much more care and consideration.
A few have even called out Bebe for misrepresenting mental illness.
bebe rexha’s appropriation and misrepresentation of mental illness to sell music is truly grim— saint zachariah (@ZachElborough) July 19, 2018
The video will no doubt reinforce stereotypes.
Then there are those who are confused as to how Bebe ever thought the concept was okay.
Bebe rexha really woke up and was like "hmm I'm going to be a sexy mental patient" and filmed it I have to laugh— blink twice (@199XBP) July 19, 2018
This obviously wasn't the intent behind it but we can see how it comes across that way.
Perhaps anticipating the backlash, Bebe took to Twitter shortly after it came out to explain what the video means to her. She revealed that it was inspired by her own experiences with anxiety and depression and wrote "I wanted to create a video and song that expressed my truth. This video is a celebration of me finally being able to accept my imperfections."
She then added: "If you feel alone or lost please know you are not and you are loved.
This is Bebe's explanation.
I have been very vocal and honest about my ongoing struggle with anxiety and depression. I wanted to create a video and song that expressed my truth. This video is a celebration of me finally being able to accept my imperfections. I’m okay with not being okay all the time.— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) July 19, 2018
If you feel alone or lost please know you are not, and you are loved. ❤️— Bebe Rexha (@BebeRexha) July 19, 2018
It's good to hear why Bebe created the video and that there were no bad intentions behind it but that obviously doesn't take away from the fact that people take issue with it.
One fan even replied to Bebe's tweet to commend her on her openness but also point out why the video is still harmful.
Thank you for being open about your own struggles. "I'm A Mess" song is great. Video not. Feeds mental health stigma with negative, ancient stereotype that's not helpful for those who need modern mental health treatment. @EachMindMatters @NAMICommunicate @EndTheStigma @BebeRexha https://t.co/TzVy9v1979— Redwoodmomma (@Redwoodmomma) July 19, 2018
We couldn't have put it better ourselves.
We know that Bebe's heart is in the right place. Hopefully she will listen to her critics and take their words into consideration when she makes her next music video.