Drake’s ‘Nice for What’ is a celebration of the independent woman, but does that redeem him?

Yara Shahidi appears in Drake's new music video
Yara Shahidi appears in Drake's new music video

If you haven’t seen it yet, Drake recently dropped the video for Nice For What and it features some of the most badass women in the entertainment industry. And guess what? They’re not overtly sexualised. They’re just featured in the video as beautiful, independent women who are doing their own thing and being boss at it. 

READ MORE: '#MeToo won't change anything for women in hip-hop' - Cardi B

These women are:

  • Actress and activist Olivia Wilde
  • The first black woman principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre Misty Copeland
  • Writer, director and star of Insecure, Issa Rae
  • Actress, producer, singer and writer Rashida Jones
  • Former Victoria’s Secret model Jourdan Dunn
  • Blackish star and owner of amazing hair Tracee Ellis Ross
  • The hilarious comedian Tiffany Haddish
  • The clever and outspoken actress Yara Shahidi
  • Actress Zoe Saldana playing with her kids
  • Swedish model twins Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta
  • Black Panther’s Letitia Wright
  • Actress Bria Vinaite
  • Scream Queens’s Emma Roberts
  • Singer, songwriter and producer Syd
  • And actress Michelle Rodriguez.

The song features a sample from Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (who can deny it's eternal excellence) called Ex-Factor and lyrics like I've been peepin' what you bringin' to the table/ Workin' hard, girl, everything paid for/ First, last phone bill, car note, cable. It really is an ode to the women who do their best every day to succeed and take care of themselves.

The video was even directed by a badass woman. Namely Karena Evans, a director and actress who also directed Drake’s video for God’s Plan – who is only 22 and already making waves.

READ MORE: The problem with Rose McGowan’s brand of feminism

It’s a step in the right direction for hip hop which is still largely problematic and can be misogynistic, but also for Drake who has fallen into this trap himself. 

Remember Hotline Bling? Awful lyrics which judged a woman for going out and having a good time and seeing whoever she wanted – slutshaming 101 – plus the video was filled with women who were there purely for the purpose of being gawked at. As a feminist, I was like “Yoh, this song is problematic”, while the other part of me was like “But it’s such a bop though!”

Now Drake seems to be redeeming himself by celebrating women instead of sexualising them, but is it real or is this just something he’s doing for the likes?

This tweet was sent to me earlier

And while it’s a funny, tongue-in-cheek look at what various think pieces like the one you’re reading right now will say, it’s also food for thought because Nice Guy misogyny is real. 

But that also doesn’t mean we get to discount this video that is amazing in all its forms.

READ MORE: How is it that we're still celebrating first blacks in 2018? 

So the lesson here is that while your faves can be problematic, it's great when they try a little harder.

But that doesn’t mean you should immediately forget their past transgressions. Keep holding artists to account and hopefully videos like these will become the norm. 

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