Talk Back: Open Letters to Kiely Williams on “Spectacular”

What do you think about this song/music video-  Spectacular?

After making this video, former Disney artist Kiely Williams received a lot of backlash. After watching the video ourselves, several FAANs felt compelled to respond through open letters (see below).

Nuala’s Open Letter
Alicia’s Open Letter
Moya’s Open Letter 
Chakka’s blog 
LaShon’s Open Letter
David’s Open Letter
T’Sey-haye’s Open Letter
Chakka’s vlog 
Danni Romano’s Open Letter 
Statement from The Women’s Media Center

Soon after posting our open letters, Keily added this disclaimer in the video’s description on youtube:

“ATTENTION: I am an actor and performer. I have been so since my first role in a television pilot at five years old. I played a character when I was a Cheetah Girl. I am playing a character in the music video for the song Spectacular, as I did in the Cheetah Girl movies. Young women across the country get intoxicated and have unprotected sex. That’s a fact. I recorded the song to bring attention to this frighteningly prevalent activity. It is absurd to infer or suggest that I am condoning this behavior.Are Lady Gaga and Beyonce advocating murder with the Telephone video? Of, course not. Was Rihanna encouraging suicide with Russian Roulette? No. Was Madonna suggesting that young unmarried girls get pregnant with Papa Dont Preach? I dont think so. Is Academy Award winner Monique a proponent of incest because of her portrayal of Mary in the movie Precious. Clearly, the answer is no. I wrote Spectacular and made the video to bring attention to a serious womens health and safety issue. Please dont shoot the messenger.”

Some of us also received a response from manager Tse Williams. FAAN CoFounder, Nuala Cabral, received this response from Williams via email:

Thanks for your email and the attention you obviously gave to your response.  While I do not agree with the conclusions you reached, I am happy that we’ve achieved our goal.  We’ve given the Internet one big “yeast infection” and now people are forced to confront a behavior that’s commonplace today.

Do you honestly think Kiely thinks it’s a good idea to get drunk and have unprotected sex? Really? Do you think there would be this type of discussion of this behavior if the video sounded like a PSA? I don’t think so. Sometimes you have to really shake things up to get people’s attention. One of the most interesting aspects of this entire controversy is that Kiely personally is absolutely NOT the girl in the video. She’s never had a “one night stand.” She merely became the character that is portrayed in the stories of scores of women and glamorized on shows like The Jersey Shore and The Bad Girls Club, among others.

It was meant to get your attention and it did. Now, people need to start asking themselves, “am I the girl in the video?”

Tse Williams


What are your thoughts? Do agree that Kiely’s attempt to “bring attention to a serious womens health and safety issue” was genuine and effective? Is it important to “talk back” to artists?


About Nuala Cabral

Nuala Cabral is an educator, activist, filmmaker and co-founder of FAAN Mail, a media literacy and activist project based in Philadelphia.

Posted on April 15, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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