Divas Being Leaders and Blowing Things Up in the Desert: A Music Video Treasury


Are you a badass lady with either an impressive vocal range, enviable rap flow, or some flashy couture you’ve been dying to wear under the oppressive heat of a thousand suns? Does your song have a sick beat? Do you want to prove your absolute, unassailable diva-hood by leading troops of loyal followers through the desert, then standing alone in a wide shot, sand and chaos swirling about you, while you remain calm as ever in the eye of the storm? Alternately, do you like music festivals and fluorescent colors?

Badass diva lady, you are not alone. In fact, if you are considering this concept for your music video, inspired either by the post-apocalyptic wastelands ubiquitous in the current cinema or just by Coachella, you’re actually in some pretty impressive company. This list includes, but is not limited to, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and most recently, Azealia Banks. Requirements for the videos are: 50 percent of shots in slow motion, a desaturated color palate (presumably faded by the desert sun), wide landscape pans, and lots of powerful stomping.

Read on to see all of the divas who have embodied the role of Fearless Desert Warrior in recent years, all under the pretense of originality (which, to be fair, we might have believed if each video existed in a vacuum). Your move, Ariana Grande.

Beyoncé — “Who Run the World (Girls)”

Beyoncé’s video is tied with M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” for Most Appealing Vision of a Future Ruled by Women. Bey wasn’t the first to do this desert thing, but, as usual, she’ll probably end up being the best.

Rihanna — “Hard”

With its 2009 premiere, Rihanna’s “Hard” is the earliest video on this list — meaning she might have been the first to adopt the trend (not a surprising Rihanna behavior), but we’re wary of crediting her with creating it. I do still want her spiky-shouldered dress, though.

Nicki Minaj — “Lookin’ Ass”

This video is special because it showed Nicki taking a break from her pop-star Barbie persona to return to some purely ferocious rapping. With this and “Anaconda” under her belt, she’s quickly becoming the queen of booty-power songs.

M.I.A. — “Bad Girls”

As mentioned earlier, if we do end up in a land of post-apocalyptic desert warfare, I think I want M.I.A. to be my leader — or at least teach me how to ride a car sideways like that.

Azealia Banks — “Heavy Metal and Reflective”

Banks is very late to the game on this trend — but, as this is her best song since “212,” we’ll give her a pass on the unoriginal video concept.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (or, The Coachellas):

Taylor Swift — “I Knew You Were Trouble”

This is the best Taylor Swift has ever looked, in my opinion. Stop trying to be a classic 1940s princess and just give in to the commercialized future-punk look, Taylor!

Lea Michele — “On My Way”

Lea Michele is from New Jersey, but you’d never know it from how fully she seems to be embracing this LA/Malibu thing. I bet she makes mood boards that consist solely of pictures of Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

Christina Aguilera — “Your Body”

Fast forward to the part where she walks away from a car that just exploded into a pink-purple cloud of dust.

Britney Spears — “Work Bitch”

In which Britney keeps a bunch of sex slaves on leashes and makes them wear Beats Pill speakers as gags. This one wins for Least Appealing Vision of the Future.