In the early 2000s, the life of video vixen could be considered a coveted profession. Melyssa Ford, Karrine Steffans, Buffie the Body, Gloria Velez and others graced our television screens alongside hip-hop luminaries like Lil Wayne, Pharrell, and Busta Rhymes, taunting the masses with skin and sex appeal. At the time, there was much money to be made as a music video leading lady without having to compromise any parts of their morality for the gig, but as the times changed, so did the music industry’s music video machine.
In a new three-part docu-series, BET Digital is exploring the cultural shift and rise and fall of the video vixen industry. As evidenced by the trailer for the series, which premiered today (July 10), “VIXEN” will explore the impetus for saying “yes” to starring in these videos, just how extravagant these videos (and their budgets) were, how respect levels changed when music piracy shook up the label industry and the controversy surrounding Steffans‘ tell-all book, Confessions of a Video Vixen.
“I think in hip-hop and in music in general especially the urban market, they never really talk highly of women ever,” Velez said. “Country music is lovey-dovey and they praise their women. Latin music, salsa, meringue, they praise they women’s beauty. In hip-hop, not so much. We get used to it. We bop our heads and we rap along even though if they’re dissing us calling us hoes or whatever because it’s what we grew up on. We became acceptable of it. It just got worse.” Other individuals weighing in during the doc include Yaris Sanchez, Rosa Acosta, Director X, Kim Osorio, Dr. Teeth and more.
Watch episode one of “VIXEN” below, and catch the remaining two on BET Digital’s YouTube channel.