For better or for worse, Toddlers & Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo have planted child pageantry firmly in the zeitgeist. It was inevitable, then, that the phenomenon would find alternative modes of expression. In this case, that mode is a rap video (naturally). The lyrics of Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea’s “Murda Bizness” are all clubs, drinks, and swag, but the video takes a more topical turn and depicts the strange, sequined world of child pageants. Director Alex 2Tone opened up about the video’s timely theme and what it’s like breaking a cardinal rule of filmmaking: never work with kids.
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As told by: Alex 2Tone
First and foremost, [Iggy] just loved the idea. I think we all are aware of child pageantry. It’s pretty bizarre. I think that people are drawing parallels between the title of the song and the business the girls are in. I don’t know that it was something that we lined up on purpose, but you take it how you want to take it.
They always say, ‘don’t shoot animals or kids.’ I was a little worried, but the kids were great, and I think getting them to let go and have fun within the context of what they were doing was good. A lot of them were involved with pageants, some of them were professional dancers, others were just kids that showed up. It was really good getting them to a place where they were having fun with what they were doing.
I like to set up a scenario, find people, put them in the scenario, and then back off a little bit and see what happens. That’s where you get a lot of the cool moments, as opposed to trying to over-orchestrate everything. A lot of the cool stuff going on between T.I. and the kids was pretty natural. The little monologue in the middle was all off-the-cuff and unscripted. The girl with T.I. was amazing. I couldn’t believe she was that self-possessed. There’s another girl, in a purple dress, who showed up with someone else, and we just threw her in the mix and it just worked out. She had no intention of being in the video, but she ended up being a big part of it.
Once I got all the kids there, that was my biggest concern, because kids are gonna be kids. When you tell a bunch of kids to destroy everything on stage, it really gets to a point of just trying to stop them. We had piles of candy everywhere, and some of the kids got their hands on the candy and got a little jacked up on sugar. But I like when things get a little chaotic, because that’s where you really get the fun moments.
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