Ok here’s my interpretation. She comes out onto a stage to dance wearing a traditionally sexy/beautiful outfit, perfect curls, and makeup (unusual for Twigs who is usually dressed very much in her own unconventional style). That’s because in a way, Twigs is giving the public the image exactly what they wanted from her this entire time: a perfect, feminine beauty that is there to give and entertain, just like the song’s lyrics (they want to see us). Her past relationship was highly publicized and scrutinized, and she’s essentially putting on a show for everyone because that’s what the media, papparazzi, online expected her to be. hence the pole dancing as a metaphor for putting on a provocative, alluring show for the public eye. Then, as the pole begins to warp, she tries harder and harder to keep up with it… I think the robot that comes up is her true self, odd, offbeat, and not so ‘perfect’ When she stomps into it to get rid of it, she loses balance and falls downwards. There you can see an arm trying to hold her (presumably her ex-lover) but she keeps falling and falling until she lands into a pit of mud.
The word cellophane to me implies a packaged good, like sweets or chocolate, meant to be consumed. Celebrity relationships are a lot like that too – the line between personal and public is so distorted and their actual private life becomes a commodity to be consumed. I think that the pit of mud and the women crawling towards her are wearing masks to represent the vile anonymous online hate Twigs received. Finally, they managed to pull her down to their level, reducing her to the color of her skin aka the brown clay (her being a woman of color was a big reason behind the majority of her online abuse) Note their eye makeup is green too, like the color of envy. I love that she uses the masks to symbolize the deceitful nature of anonymity over the Internet… I feel like Twigs tried really really hard in her relationship despite all the eyes that were on her, but in the end she just could not become the puppet that the public eye wanted her to be for them. Eventually, this tore apart at her relationship and she had to let go and choose herself over her partner. It’s a heartbreaking and intensely vulnerable song and video… oh also if you read this far you get a cookie
The Nas Video Drama
Intentional or not, copying other artists’ work happens. Making music videos is a labor of love”
Andrew Thomas Huang has taken to social media to respond to similarities between the music videos for FKA twigs‘ ‘Cellophane’, which he directed, and Lil Nas X‘s ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’.
He first noted the similarities over the weekend following the release of ‘Montero’, posting a side-by-side of both videos on TikTok, captioning it with “@lilnasx take me off your mood board or hire me”.
The similarities in question include the fact that both videos feature their respective artists descending from the sky into some form of darkness (in Lil Nas X’s case, literal Hell) while pole-dancing.
Huang further elaborated in a since-expired Instagram story, claiming that Lil Nas X’s label, Columbia Records, had previously reached out to him. He then wrote that the label “pivoted away” before hiring the same choreographer who worked on ‘Cellophane’, Kelly Yvonne.
“Consider the power you wield and the artists you harm when you capitalize on our blood sweat tears and emotional labor,” Huang wrote, while tagging Lil Nas X, Columbia Records and Tanu Muino, who co-directed ‘Montero’ along with Lil Nas X.
On March 28, Huang elaborated in a Twitter thread, which he began by noting his support for Lil Nas X: “I’m a fan of @LilNasX. ‘Old Town Road’ is iconic.”
“Sharing collaborators is common. Seeing the ‘Cellophane’ choreographer collab with Lil Nas X is awesome (love a Satan dance). Sharing aesthetics and paying homage is part of the creative process. Collective consciousness exists.”
He went on to say, “Years of work went into the creation of ‘Cellophane’, from physical training to the emotional labor of unpacking Twigs’ life to construct images told her story of trauma and recovery. ‘Cellophane’ was a confession in the most vulnerable sense.
“When an artist is in a position of power (amplified with the help of major record labels, social media, PR, etc) and repurposes someone’s labor and ideas to serve their brand image, they cause harm by displacing the efforts of the artists who did the original leg work.”
“Intentional or not, copying other artists’ work happens,” Huang continued. “Making music videos is a labor of love. The demand for content pushed by major labels renders our work disposable and pits artists against each other.”
He then specified that he is referring to “major record labels run by white male executives”, saying they “pit women and QBIPOC creators against each other”.
Huang concluded his thread by urging the music community, and specifically Columbia Records to “do better”.
“I urge the music community, particularly major record labels like @ColumbiaRecords to respect directors, uphold artistic accountability and honor the ingenuity of artists dedicating their blood sweat and tears to imagine better futures amidst a broken industry,” Huang wrote.
“We can do better.”
Neither Lil Nas X, FKA twigs, Tanu Muino nor Columbia Records have publicly responded to the similarities between the videos or Huang’s statements.
This isn’t the only controversy the ‘Montero’ video has caused, with right-wing commentators and US politicians criticising its use of religious imagery.
“there is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop,” Nas X wrote in a now-deleted tweet in response to the criticism, “me sliding down a cgi pole isn’t what’s destroying society.”
So Why Is Lil Nas X embracing Satan literally?
Sources Natali V, NME