sunshine nouveau

a brown woman speaks

open response to a ‘spectacular’ spectacle

This letter is in response to Kiely Williams’ music video “Spectacular.” It was sent to Kiely’s manager and sister (Tse Williams) at 

Dear Ms. Williams,

I am part of the ‘Open Letter to Kiely Campaign’. I recently read your response to a letter of concern regarding Kiely’s “Spectacular” video. I was shocked by the sentiment that you expressed on behalf of Kiely and your agency.

"We’ve given the internet one big ‘yeast infection’." What a gross and blatantly sexist comment!

The video was a bad idea, it was poorly executed, and your response as a so-called professional manager was equally as bad. You have taken no responsibility for producing and promoting something that is misleading and potentially dangerous.

Millions of women and girls are dying and dealing with life-threatening circumstances due to behavior that Keily’s song “appears” to glorify. I agree that there needs to be honest dialogue and self-reflection to address these issues, but your execution was poor. You have created something that reinforces the very negative images, stereotypes, and behaviors that you claim you want to combat.

A disclaimer and follow up messages defending and clarifying (after the fact) the intent of the video is wholly insufficient, and, honestly, insulting.  If you intended the video to raise awareness you should not have to defend or clarify anything.  It should speak truthfully for itself.

Most young women will NOT view this song as an opportunity for self-reflection, responsible action, or positive sexual activity/change.  It will be taken for what it “appears” to be—an endorsement of unhealthy and potentially deadly behavior. There are better ways to convey a counter message and promote healthy dialogue.  And, contrary to popular belief, all publicity is NOT good publicity.

Admittedly, you have created some media buzz and people are talking.  But it is not about whether they are, or know someone like, the girl in the video. They are talking about the girl in the video—Kiely—your client, and it is not all positive.

Based on your response, I am personally boycotting Nine Lives Entertainment, and I will encourage my friends to do the same.  If your agency and Kiely want to do the right thing, you should issue an apology, produce a legitimate PSA on this issue for women and girls, and think very carefully about Kiely’s image and your messaging going forward.

I write this as a concerned and conscious consumer, and I share this on behalf of my female friends and family who have to fight daily to negotiate their agency and voice in a misinformed, power hungry, and sexist society.  My hope is that you will find some value in my words and work toward becoming a more responsible (change) agent and a source of real empowerment for our sisters.


Kiely Williams’ Video Response
Tse Williams’ Video Response