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Post InfoTOPIC: Plot Twist: Race and Domino Dancing
Posted By: Rev'd Chris

Posted On: October 7th
Views: 164
Plot Twist: Race and Domino Dancing

Keeping in mind that this was still the era in US music videos where the "hot girl" was a trope, and part of the selling point of a single... if I recall, there probably aren't a lot of videos from this era where the object of desire is not the singer or the female "object."

But also, I am hard pressed to think of a music video from this era that would feature so a Latina woman so prominently, as the featured character, when there is a male lead singer--especially a white one.

Nor can I think of a popular music video in the US from that era that clearly depicted Puerto Rico.

And further, the female character is presented as a strong character.

So my point is this: if we were to suggest that Domino Dancing, specifically the video, is the or a primary reason why the Boys' popularity declined in America, I think a stronger case could be made that it really isn't homoerotic but because it was really against the grain of how women were depicted in music videos featuring white singers in America.

In other words, American music consumers whose hits were accessed through MTV and radio weren't looking for latin-influenced music from English white guys with a video filmed in an American territory that they'd prefer to pretend didn't exist. It was too bold, perhaps, while not trying to be.

I'm not sure the American audience even saw the video enough to get the homoerotic themes. Maybe MTV executives, but they were fairly conservative then - this was before "Like a prayer," right?

Popular music and MTV changed quite a bit in 1988-1990, and a growing division emerged between the underground scene and what might bubble up from beneath the mainstream studio's gaze. Pet Shop Boys were part of the establishment by then, but they were still outsiders in American music audiences. It was a year between single releases in this time. Their name alone wasn't getting them on the tracks released to radio. By the time Very came around, the scene had changed again, and guitar-driven music was the rage.

It's all speculation, but could it have been that releasing "Heart," even if it wasn't a big hit, would have changed the situation in the US?


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