It takes more than a dollop of self-confidence to hang the chorus of your song on the bordering-on-obnoxious slogan for an ’80s shampoo commercial. But when [artist id=”1746119″]Keri Hilson[/artist] sings, “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful,” on her latest track, “Pretty Girl Rock,” she wants the ladies to sing along.
Co-written by Ne-Yo (who gave fed-up women everywhere Beyoncé’s massive kiss-off “Irreplaceable”), the relentlessly upbeat number is no less than an anthem. MTV News visited the “Pretty Girl” video set last month and Keri talked about why every girl should feel like a “10” and paying homage in the new clip to stars of the screen and song.
“I think that this record could have a special place or could live in the hearts of those who are different and those who people call ’imperfect’ or you know, just have a lot of insecurities,” Hilson explained. “Everyone’s dealing with them. Everyone has insecurities and imperfections, and it’s all about embracing those things and understanding that through your differences, you are beautiful.”
With a hand from veteran visuals director Joseph Kahn (“Love the Way You Lie”), the Georgia girl tips her hat to a constellation of stars, past and present, from early 20th-century sirens Dorothy Dandridge and Josephine Baker to “Rhythm Nation”-era Janet Jackson and girl group TLC.
“In this video, I do nine changes, and it’s almost like I have to slip in and out of multiple personalities because I’m doing, what, 10 different eras, from the ’20s straight up until 2010, which is me,” Keri told us between shooting scenes.
The songstress paused every now and then to fluff the shock of curls on her dome, a wig that, along with her blue sequined mini-dress, mile-long eyelashes and a generous dusting of gold glitter made her a dead ringer for ’70s disco diva Donna Summer. Hilson also does convincing turns as ’50s screen queen Doris Day and the legendary Diana Ross.
Keri called the video her “way of paying homage to groundbreaking women, strong women who were fearless and so bold and so confident that they made women feel that way. … And I hope to do the same.”
While MTV generation fans will probably be most amped for the frames in which Keri (as T-Boz) and two dancers (as Chilli and the late Left Eye) don silk pajamas for a stunning re-creation of TLC’s “Creep,” Hilson said she was hard-pressed to pick a favorite among the eras she samples, jumping around between the ’70s, ’80 and ’90s. Then she settled on one period: the Keri Hilson scenes, for which she does stripped-down casual in a white tee and jeans.
” ’Cause I get to show the world the purpose behind the song and it’s a lot more meaningful,” Hilson said of the “2010” sequences. “I’m not really playing a character or an era. I get to show, you know, kind of the emotion and the intent behind the record, as myself.”
Keri’s sophomore album, the follow-up to In a Perfect World, is titled No Boys Allowed and drops December 21.
What’s your favorite era in the “Pretty Girl Rock” video? Tell us in the comments!