Kimbella vs. Erica: Why Video Models Get No Respect

I know I wasn’t the only one whose mouth dropped yesterday when yet again, two grown women resorted to drink-throwing and hair-pulling on national TV. While cat-fights of this type are a mainstay on reality television these days, the conflict behind the brawl is what made us all scratch our heads. Were they really fighting over who was the more ‘legit’ model?

It’s no secret: Video modeling is looked down upon in hip-hop. From the lovely lady who let Nelly swipe a credit card down her butt cheeks to the myriad of half-dressed women who jiggle what their mama gave them for a camera while surrounded by fully-clothed men, video models are no trophy—according to most onlookers. There’s a nasty stigma that comes along with an appearance in a music video, labeling models as loose and undeserving of respect for willingly allowing themselves to be objectified for a couple of coins.

And sometimes, there’s not even money involved. Erica revealed yesterday that her beef is that many of these women will take a video gig for $50 or less, making the business of video modeling obsolete. Even worse, the sex-soaked videos are often accompanied by sex scandals fueled by rumors of hookups between rappers and video models on and off set. To be sure, there are models like Amber Rose (who met Kanye West on the set of his never-seen ‘Robocop’ video) and Melyssa Ford who have been able to nab acting jobs and fame outside of the work they’ve done in music videos alone. But each of them struggle to overcome the stigma of video modeling (and stripping, in Amber’s case) and the public’s disapproving gaze.