If Babymetal and Poppy's colorful mash-up of sugary pop and snarling heavy metal has your appetite piqued for more such cross-pollination, self-described purveyor of "cute R&B" Rina Sawayama has a new single — and music video — perfect for you. "STFU!" sees the London-based singer infusing the distorted riffage of nu-metal into her already twisted take on pop.
The ferocity of the music is fitting as the song channels Sawayama's real-life rage against microaggressions. A Japanese woman growing up in the Western world, the pop artist drew on her experiences for both the song and its video, which she co-directed with Alesandra Kurr. Set in an upmarket Japanese restaurant, the clip opens with Rina being bombarded by a date (actor Ben Ashenden) with offensive, insensitive and stereotypical statements and questions about her race, leading her to, well, pretty much lose her shit.
"'STFU!' is a song about releasing the RAGE against microaggressions," Sawayama commented. "As a Japanese girl growing up in the West I dealt with an array of aggressors ranging from: sexual stereotypes, comparisons with Lucy Liu and Cho Chang, to having to be the unofficial PR person and tourist board to Tokyo (a city of Western fascination that I left when I was 4), to people shouting Asian greetings down the street (nihao! Konnichiwa!), and finally to people doing 'slit eyes.' The way I've dealt with these microaggressions in recent years has been through comedy — my Asian friends and I have bonded over our shared experiences, laughing at how truly ridiculous these microaggressions are. Through humor we heal and can move on. This is the spirit of 'STFU!' It was truly a therapeutic experience to condense all the things that people have said to me over the years into a situation that highlights how ridiculous these comments are when said all in one go in a context (like a first date) of flattery."