“Memphis, Egypt a crazy long time ago…” is the opening of Katy Perry’s hot new video for her song Dark Horse featuring Juicy. The video is resplendent with lavish Egyptian sets and costumes with Perry posing as Katy-Patra on an elaborate throne flanked by men servicing her every need. This shows a new diva side of Perry who was recently booed at Milan fashion week.
Reports from Milan state that Perry was hassled by numerous photographers that were covering the Moschino 2014 Fall collection that she was walking in. It was said that Perry had arrived late to the show, which had upset members of the audience. Perry supposedly returned the jibs with comments that they would still get their photos. Jeremy Scott, who was in charge of the collection later tweeted his thanks to the star. Perry has become increasingly touted as a diva in the press. Evidence of this may be leaking through in her new video.
The video was directed by Matthew Cullen who has previously worked with Katy Perry on California Gurls, Cullen is known for his work on Beck’s Girl video where everything folds up in MAD magazine style to reveal new messages. Cullen also worked on Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. These credits seem to show his lavish style that comes through in Dark Horse. But Perry is not so fluffy in her new video. Instead she reveals a diva side, portraying an evil witchy queen who destroys potential suitors at the smallest provocation.
The extreme Egyptian motif is blended with modern interpretations. Perry pole dancers in a Cleopatra-esque wig with metallic sneakers and an almost cheerleader style skirt. She sits on a throne topped with a giant silver sphinx that speaks the line “there’s no going back” dressed in a neon patterned dress and transforming her suitors into wicked grills, Egyptian fluffy dice and even an inverted version of Anubis, with a human head and dog body rather than the other way around. She is flanked by female dancers with exaggerated cat heads like Bast, the Egyptian cat headed god. There is also a chariot with spinning rims and Juicy emerging from a giant sarcophagus.
The references in the video caused MTV to ask an Egyptologist about the accuracy of the items. Pearce Paul Creasman of the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition, said that there were some points that could be seen as in the ballpark of an accurate representation. He is of course ignoring the pyramid of Twinkies and the basin of Hot Cheetos. Creasman said that he hoped the video would prompt an increase in students wishing to study Egyptology. There is an overwhelming use of pink throughout the video, pink sand, pink patterns on the floor, pink columns, but Creasman said that ancient Egyptians actually did use a lot of pink granite in their architecture and statues. Of course it was not as bright a shade as depicted, but the reference can be made. The final section of the song where Perry climbs to the top of the pyramid is also in keeping with ancient Egyptian culture as it was thought that the soul of the buried royals would step off the top of their funeral pyramid to ascend to the afterlife. Numerous other gods are referenced throughout.
The video is rife with symbols, most notably the eye of Horus which is drawn under Perry’s own eye. When she examines a giant diamond, she holds a large version of the sign to her face. This symbol of an eye with a curled frond extending underneath to one side, denotes protection, royal power and good health. It is meant to ward off evil, a fact that the unfortunate suitors seem to have missed out on. Dark Horse shows Katy Perry in a new light, with diva-esque powers that might just cost her royal boyfriends more than an expensive gift.
See the full version of the song below.
By Sara Watson