LaurieAnn Gibson On New Keri Hilson Video: “She Did Have Reservations…”

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Vibe / November 30, 2010

Earlier this week, Keri Hilson released the sexplicit video to her latest single, “The Way You Love Me,” which spread like legs across the internet within minutes of going viral. The high-charged video attracted over 8 million views on World Star Hip Hop, receiving mixed reaction from both fans and critics alike.

Blogger Necole Bitchie caught up with renowned choreographer and creative director LaurieAnn Gibson yesterday, who made her directorial debut with the much talked about video. She explained the controversial concept, how the video collaboration came about as well as her thoughts on black women snatching back their power and sexuality.

Necole BitchieKeri Hilson’s new video is going crazy on the internet. Everyone is talking about it. For people who may not have seen the video yet, could you tell us a little bit about the concept of the video?

LaurieAnn: We didn’t expect the dirty version to leak. It is a story about a love affair. Keri is a bounty hunter and the person that she has to bring in is her love, her baby daddy, Columbus Short, who’s an actor who started out as a dancer. So she has like this ultimate decision to make that I feel like a lot of black women are faced with; Is he the right guy? Is he good enough? I love him. Listen, we are up against a lot of odds, we gotta support our black man against those odds. Do I turn him in? Do I honor my love and risk it all? So that’s basically what the concept of the video is. There’s a ‘to be continued’ so it’s going to be interesting. I’m actually going to take you back to the beginning of when they first met so it will make sense when it’s finished.

Necole Bitchie : I can imagine that you were under a lot of pressure especially for this video to be your directorial debut

LaurieAnn: Well the thing is I’ve been choreographing and then creative directing with a lot of Lady Gaga stuff. You know as a choreographer you basically direct movement so you’re in the trenches learning about directing for years. When Keri was like, “Lauri Ann, Polow has this record…I’m not sure about it”. I said “Keri, let me direct a lifestyle video. The thing is, the beat is so driving and it doesn’t have to necessarily be the full part of you. It can be a character or another side. How can we pull a record that Polow loves and not offend your fans?” I suggested we make a mini movie. So that’s how it started out and it was really innocent and because it was my directorial debut I didn’t have a lot of money. The label was looking at me with one eye open. A lot of people don’t understand that Keri’s really capable and really talented and a lot of the other females may not see her as a competitor. But legitimately she has a voice, she has an opinion…she has a passion. So I was like “Keri, if I could let you feel this comfortable you need to fight for your spot, fight for your right to go after what you really want.” So we just started and that’s how the collaborations started.

Necole Bitchie: My first thought when I saw the video was “men are going to love this, women are going to hate on it”. I looked on twitter and the men were going crazy, the women not so much. I have never seen Keri dance that hard though. Do you feel like this video can propel her into “a competing state” and open people’s eyes to “Keri has arrived”?

LaurieAnn: Absolutely Necole because I think the bar and the level is set. You have to risk it all in order to be number one and you know how we feel about Beyonce, she works non-stop. She’s in it giving you options, performing at a level that’s not comfortable. The thing is, Keri can go there, so it’s like she’s making them feel uncomfortable. It’s a risk she had to take. As a black woman it is a little bit uncomfortable but what we are saying is we get to this place sexually where we want to feel like we’re that sexy, we’re that fly and why not? I mean white girls get behind us, I mean I love you Kim Kardashian but enough! Black girls are fly, you know what I’m saying? We’re beat, we’re the reason for the season and we need to embrace it! It’s a little uncomfortable because they kindly, politely put us in our position. Black women stand up and take back what their tying to snatch from us behind closed doors.

Necole Bitchie: When you were presenting your ideas to Keri for this video, were there reservations on her end?

LaurieAnn: She did have reservations; it was a mixture of both. She loved the freedom and the protection that I gave her as the director. I was like “you’re screaming to prove you are a competitor in the ring…that Keri can sing, dance and act”. I didn’t make the record. I’m just delivering the record. There’s no way around, “Love me, Love me, it’s the way you love me, thug me.” I didn’t want to make it mine. So creatively I wanted to elevate you and challenge you to really break the front wall. I was like we gotta get Ricky on there, Faith came in, Dawn, Jojo..it was really a loving set and everyone had fun. She was a little bit like “Yikes!” I was like “You have the ability, so you want to be fearless and in your face on this. Promote the idea there should be no judgment and really stand for something or fall for anything.”

Catch the rest of this interview over at Necole Bitchie

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