Select Page

I really thought I’d forget about this with the passage of time. Nope. It still bothers me. 


The video for “Pour It Up” has 86,616,310 views on YouTube as of this moment. It features pole dancing and strippers. It’s still getting views and comments on a regular basis. 

Nicole Williams in Pour It Up

The Bruno Mars video “Gorilla” has 20,565,090 views on YouTube right now. It *also* features pole dancing and strippers. 

Gorilla — in video form …
And during a public performance of Gorilla, Mars shared the stage with Nicole Williams … who was one of the dancers featured in Pour It Up. 
… and performed live

Why were the comments directed at Pour It Up and its dancers so venomous, while a relatively tiny percentage of the comments on the Bruno Mars video even concern themselves with the pole dancing? And why did everyone hate on Nicole Williams when she was dancing in Rihanna’s video … but refer to her performing onstage with Bruno Mars as artistic, incredible, death-defying? 

It’s a question I’ve been trying to answer for myself since both videos came out. Rihanna’s video is definitely more in your face … my thinking is that it needs to be, if it’s going to accompany lyrics such as “strip club and dollar bills … strippers goin’ up and down that pole.”  

Still, “Gorilla” isn’t exactly tame. References to cocaine and “legs in the air” go hand-in-hand with a line about him grabbing a fistful of her hair. 

So what gives? I searched online for comparisons between the two videos — to find very few. The songs came out reasonably close together in time. I’d think they’d be RIPE for that sort of comparison… but no. Apparently not.  

Many women were livid at Rihanna’s portrayal of what they consider to be a profession that’s degrading to women. Where were those same women to comment when Gorilla was released? Why wasn’t that portrayal degrading and pornographic?

I think it boils down to people liking — or not — the stars themselves. Rihanna, though absolutely a mainstream talent, has a pronounced bad girl image. I don’t think Bruno Mars is considered to be a bad boy of pop. 

I’d love to get more dancers’ takes on a comparison between the two videos. Many dancers have expressed their opinions, positive and negative, about Pour It Up, but I haven’t seen the same level of commentary on Gorilla. So please comment. Send your opinions! 

**Any opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone, not those of UPA or its members.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join the UPA Club to recieve webinar info, community info and exclusive deals and information.

You have Successfully Subscribed!