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The chaos behind the music video of Katy Perry’s Dark Horse
The song Dark Horse itself already gave way to various debates and discussions, much more its music video that was set in the Ancient Egypt. This song performed by Katy Perry was so powerful and provoking; very feminist. Though it could be related to other else, such as drug addiction and greediness for the like of fame and money, the song was perceived with a dark theme lurking all over it.
Dark Horse means someone underestimated for what he or she is capable of doing. In this song, dark horse pertained not only to such unrecognized strength but to unexpected disaster as well. The song was interpreted in a history-filled music video, which made Dark Horse more compelling and mesmerizing. It was inspired in a very femme fatal way, using the image of one of the toughest, wittiest, and most influential women in the ancient history: Cleopatra.
Yet, despite the sincerest intention to combine ancient history and pop music, the Dark Horse music video called attentions for its witchcraft and occultism elements; not to mention the said Illuminati symbol that was discussed in the article of IlluminatiWatcher. Now the question lies in between – does the music video considered a powerful art that clearly brings a warning message or does it seemed to promote a dark activity?
THE POWER OF VISUALS
The song delivered a powerful message thus it needed no explanation why it would have to be in Ancient Egypt. The choice of setting was perfect not for its non-Christian feature but for its significant role in the civilization. A powerful empire in the ancient world, the old Egypt had everything in it that spoke of authority, influence, control, and prominence.
The image of a woman enthroned said so much of the term ‘dark horse’, however all the other visual elements had stood alone for its respective representation; making a strong statement in the video’s dark theme yet history-enriched treatment. The dominant colour schemes of the music video – turquoise and gold – were the colours of Ancient Egypt along other earth hues; the visuals of wealth and perfect architecture was abundantly incorporated but without clogging the space; the theme was apparently darkish but the visual’s value was light and vibrant; the texture appealed smooth and transfixing to the eyes; and the visuals over-all had delivered a variety of spectacles that both fascinated and triggered curiosity among the viewers.
The perceived message – positive or negative? Right from the start of the video with Katy Perry angled in an Egyptian pose, wearing neck-length straightened hair with bangs above the brows, with arms folded and hands straightened forward, there was only one image that initially came into mind – Cleopatra. Cleopatra herself already delivered a major portion of the general message. Not only famous for her beauty and charm, Cleopatra was known for her power as the last Queen of Egypt that ruled a powerful empire. When we said empire it didn’t refer alone to the literal empire but to another greater empire – Julius Caesar! Yes, because Julius Caesar was the empire himself, and Cleopatra had ruled him. Cleopatra was the perfect epitome of a dark horse. A young and fragile lady, who seemed to be incapable of doing nothing great and legendary, but made her way to Caesar by hiding herself in a rug! She caught his heart, she made him head over heels crazy for her. That visual of Cleopatra alone, had already delivered the message of the artist and producer. The intention was crystal clear – it was all about power, bewitching, and destruction.
Aside from the iconic dress-up of Katy Perry, other visual forms in the music video strongly delivered a warning message. People got bewitched on things that glittered and promised ecstasy. But like the element of lightning bolt in the music video, these things could send them off to their devastation, or worst, to their death. The music video was creative enough to bring the obvious warning – addiction on things such as on love, pleasure, drugs, or money could lead you into ruins.
The magic behind the visuals. The visual elements used in the music video of Dark Horse were unified in its message – get drawn and be drowned. It wasn’t entirely about woman being the often cause of man’s destruction though it made perfect sense as well to warn the men – to never mess up with a woman because you never know what she’s capable of doing. Women are the archetype of dark horse regardless of the strength or weakness of their personality.
The enriched visual elements not only contributed but fully constituted the artist’s intention. The visuals served as symbolisms and representations to things that could lead a person to downfall. The snake for instance. Katy Perry was seen in the statues of Egypt gods with the golden snake crawling around her. It was an obvious reference to the history when Cleopatra committed suicide through the deadly asp. On one side of the coin you’d interpret it as submission to defeat because Cleopatra had finally succumbed. But on the other side, you could interpret it as other else. Snake represented a betrayal. The visual of it crawling around Katy Perry sent off another message – let the traitor overpower you and soon it will bite and poison you!
If you’re too fond of the Ancient Egypt’s history, there’s no real trouble of seeing the connection and reference between the concept and the renowned past. Everything on it was a trip back to the memory lane of the world’s history. The inspiration of theme was made clear, it was about Ancient Egypt. The history facts were just mixed-up and bit twisted, which created some confusions; such as on why the character of Cleopatra grew wings and why she got that magical power. It could be misleading to someone who wasn’t knowledgeable about history. But again this music video was experimental on its genre, thus its mixed-up elements could justify the whole thing. There wasn’t any hidden agenda as far as the video appealed to the audiences, except perhaps for some people who are particular in symbols and odd visuals. There were no hidden messages as well but there were lots of representation which a critical mind could spot.
The dog for instance in the video, it was mentioned in Lily Rothman’s article that its representation was no other than Mark Anthony, whom Cleopatra treated as lap dog. This part was a bit one sided, concluding Cleopatra’s dark nature and not justifying her other good side. Perhaps, it was for the reason that doing so would create disturbance to the consistency of the song. If there was any issue on it maybe it was the fact that the video made Cleopatra into the worst wicked figure that you could imagine.
The chaos it made – occultism to illuminati and paganism. If there’s a group who would strongly criticize the music video for all its visuals and treatments, it is the religious group. The elements on the music video were demonstrating paganism. Though it was only reflecting the old culture, still it sent the Christian group into panic. They are afraid that it might pollute the mind of the youth as far as the religious belief is concerned. Some people even referred to it as Satanic, though this incident was credited more to Katy Perry’s performance in the Grammy.
Another thought-provoking part of the music video was the presence of the Eye of Horus, which was perceived as an Illuminati symbol. While the Eye of Horus was indeed used by Freemasons as symbol, it was first owned by the Ancient Egypt’s culture. To debate over the music video’s satanic or paganism theme is definitely another vast topic to explore. It can’t be helped anyway. There were lots of ideas that could be associated to the Ancient Egypt. There’s no wonder for all these fuss that the Dark Horse music video is creating.
Rather, the question should be, “To whom the song and video should appeal?” In able to maximize the song’s intention and bring out its message to those who need it, it should appeal to the young adults, men and women alike. The song and video embody the whole idea of addiction, whether to drugs or money, this media arts speak of enslavement to something that is influential, powerful, and destructive. And yes, it clearly states the effect. However, this media art could mislead a person when wrongly interpreted. It has the tendency to arise wrong emotion, to provoke wrong idea, to encourage wrong activity. The music video is highly artistic and imaginative but like other arts, this piece of work could lead one’s mind to another portal of different kind of imagination. While it is deemed effective in delivering a message, particularly a warning; the perception of it still depends to the level of thinking of the one who sees and interprets it.
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IlluminatiWatcher.com, 6 Aug. 2014. Web. 6 Mar 2015. http://illuminatiwatcher.com/illuminati-symbolism-in-katy-perry-ft-juicy-j-dark-horse-music-video/
KattyPerryVEVO. “Katy Perry - Dark Horse (Official) ft. Juicy J.” Online Official Music Video.
YouTube. YouTube 20, Feb. 2014. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-8Q-hLdECwQmaWNwXitYDw
Lily Rothman. “There’s a Very Good Reason Why Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” Video Is Set in
Ancient Egypt.” Time Magazine, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. http://time.com/9233/katy-perry-dark-horse-egypt/
Perry, Katy. “Dark Horse.”Prism. Capital Records, 2013. CD.