After duking it out in the ring for her “Dirrty” video, Christina Aguilera is taking her fighting skills to the streets.
In the singer’s next video, for the Lil’ Kim collaboration “Can’t Hold Us Down,” the duo and a dozen or so of their friends take on a gang of guys in New York’s Lower East Side.
The battle begins when a loiterer makes a sleazy pass at Aguilera. No punches are actually thrown, but the words hit just as strong. “Call me a bitch ’cause I speak what’s on my mind,” Christina sings as the clash begins. “Guess it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled.”
“It’s a real female empowerment song, so the girls are getting theirs,” said David LaChapelle, the celebrity photographer who directed the clip, as well as “Dirrty.” “Men objectify women all the time and it’s no big deal, so this time the girl’s doing it.”
The video takes place on a sweltering hot night in 1984, “when [Ed] Koch was mayor, the garbage trucks sometimes didn’t show, there were blackouts and sh–, and everybody was on the street,” explained LaChapelle, who has also directed videos for Elton John, Moby and the Vines.
I grew up there and so I made it look like it did,” he said. “It looks like New York does not look anymore.”
The “Can’t Hold Us Down” video, which ends with the loiterer bending down on his knee, kissing Christina’s hand and begging for forgiveness, includes an appearance from star breakdancer B-Boy Crumbs.
“It’s my ode to the ’80s,” LaChapelle said. “I love hip-hop and breakdancing and b-boys and fly girls and all that, and they’re all represented. We have some amazing characters in the video and I think it looks pretty cool.”
As for Aguilera’s look in the clip, another controversy could be looming (see “How Dirty Is ’Dirrty’? X-posing The Kinks In X-tina’s Video” ).
“You saw ’Dirrty’ right? We were calling it ’Dirrtier,’ ” LaChapelle joked. “No, I don’t want to repeat myself. There’s a lot going on. She looks hot. A good friend of mine, Jonas Akerlund, said Christina is the new [Sex Pistols singer] Johnny Lydon, ’cause she doesn’t give a f—. She does her own thing. There’s not many people who don’t have to ask their publicist if something’s OK, and it’s fun working with people like that.”
The video will premiere next month, around the time Aguilera kicks off the Justified and Stripped Tour with Justin Timberlake (see “Justin Timberlake/ Christina Aguilera Tour Dates Announced” ).