The musician Prince is drawing fire for a new video that portrays an Arab-American girl envisioning herself blowing up an airport.
The video for the song “Cinnamon Girl” shows the girl, played by 14-year-old Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes of the movie “Whale Rider,” facing harassment from schoolmates and witnessing racism in the wake of an attack that mirrors 9/11.
Steve Silberfarb, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota, said he applauds the anti-harassment message, but found a dream sequence in which the girl detonates a bomb at an airport disturbing.
“Even allowing for the right of an artist to express himself, I think it’s misguided and offensive,” Silberfarb said. “Her frustration is understandable. The violence is not.”
Prince turned down an interview request through his Los Angeles-based publicist, Ronnie Lippin. She said his goal was to provoke a discussion about the issues raised in the video. “If people are reacting with concern, I think the conversation is starting,” she said.
The recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee rose to fame in the 1980s with a series of sexually provocative songs and videos and his starring role in the autobiographical “Purple Rain.”
His career has seen a revival this year with the release of the album “Musicology” and a successful nationwide tour.
“What it is is a washed-up pop star’s crass exploitation of post-9/11 race-card-playing by Arab-American apologists for terror,” conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote in her Weblog.
MTV spokesman Graham James said the video is currently playing on MTVU, which is available only on college campuses. He said it would enter rotation on the flagship channel next week.