Meow, the gloves are off and the catfight has begun!
I have to admit to being one of those obnoxious people who doesn’t pay much attention to what’s going on with pop music. When Rihanna’s new video for “S&M” came out I couldn’t be bothered with it, but recent news that she had been slapped with a lawsuit by David LaChapelle for it, finally made me curious, and I have to admit I was shocked with it (and not with the parts that got it banned in 11 or whatever countries).
In his lawsuit LaChapelle claims that Rihanna’s video copied the “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting’ of his work“.
While it’s true that there can be a thin line between inspiration and imitation (and I have before delved into close examination at the inspiration for videos for Nine Inch Nails and Madonna) a line has to be crossed somewhere and quite frankly I think this has definitely crossed that line, however thin it may be.
Behind the scenes gossip has already emerged, that the mood board for the video was comprised of a great number of photos from LaChapelle and that another music video director (rumored to be Joseph Kahn, thanks to this particular tweet) had initially been contacted with the main guideline being that it was supposed to be a LaChapelle-esque video. After his refusal, the label eventually hired Melina Matsoukas.
LaChapelle had previously worked with Rihanna in the video for Disturbia and claims there are no hard feelings:
“This is not personal, strictly business. Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone’s beats and there should be no difference when ‘sampling’ artist’s visuals. I really like Riri – we’ve actually worked together before. I think about her everytime I’m caught in the rain without my umbrella.” (this last line is priceless!!)
What really puzzles me in this mess, is why do this, after all, Rihanna is probably one of the few pop stars who could actually afford his fee, so why choose the lame cop out, it’s not like he was dead and couldn’t do it.
As LaChapelle himself stated in his Twitter: “The next time you make a David LaChapelle music video you should probably hire David LaChapelle“.
And now after all this blah blah blah, here’s the video:
UPDATE: Rihanna and LaChapelle have since the original publication of this post settled out of court with an undisclosed amount.