Beyoncé’s Post-Apocalyptic “Run the World (Girls)” Video Is A Visual Smorgasbord Of Multiculturalism


Who run the world?


Beyoncé’s video for “Run the World (Girls)” premiered last night on American Idol, and it’s a fantastic melange of cultural influences, surpassing those of the the song. As the teaser suggested, the video depicts Beyoncé and her girl-gang facing off against a gang of men clad in riot gear. The aesthetics are Australian post-apocalyptic (or, at least, Road Warrior via “California Love”), but transplanted to Africa and sprinkled with “Arabian” (that is, Middle Eastern through Western eyes) elements—maybe not quite the Dance of the Seven Veils, exactly, but certainly Cleopatra.

When the gang first arrives, in fact, Queen Beyoncé and her eunuchs dance:

Bey herself goes extra crazy:

Her tactic against the riot police varies between aggression and seduction. For the former, she recruits her subjects to dance along:

The latter is portrayed more in cutaway sequences without the men present, as in her solo sand-dance sequence:

Other cutaway sequences tie the imagery of the video together.
Of course she has pet hyenas

The pet hyenas are a nice touch. And so what if society has crumbled? She’s the queen! She’s gonna get her nails done.

In keeping with this devotion to fashion, she goes through three costume changes just while facing off against the riot squad. As evidenced below, her repeated outfit changes pay off and the riot police call off their charge:

All in all, “Run The World (Girls)” is an over-packed mixture of Australian, pan-African, and Near-East-Oriental imagery (plus a sprinkling of Gaga-esque haute-confrontation) for a banging R&B track on a dancehall-Caribbean beat from the diva from “Houston, Texas, baby.” In short: we love it.

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