The camera flashes as Beyoncé, Kelly, LaTavia and LeToya walk down the street. They stop at a surveillance camera, smiling and posing into it. They continue to walk, pausing at an electronics store.
Beyoncé notices the television picking up their image. She tells the other girls to back up. They again pose and smile.
Meanwhile, people in their cars drive to their jobs or run errands. Some people talk on the corner. A pager buzzes. A young woman tries on sunglasses.
A car, with the vanity plate “Rollin'” pulls up by the women. The men begin to compliment them and say they want to talk. Beyoncé puts her hand out to them, indicating “leave us alone” as they drive in reverse, following them. Beyonce waves her finger at them, telling them, “no.”
LaTavia checks her pager. She groans and LeToya asks her what’s wrong. LaTavia shows her the page and then throws it behind her. It lands in a wastebasket a block away.
The group hides in a nearby store while the guys stay on the lookout for them next door, searching for them in each establishment. LeToya uses her pager to distract them. When they hear it, the guys point to the left, believing the girls are close. LeToya quickly brings her pager to her chest as they continue to peek through the side of the door.
Seeing the guys head off in the opposite direction, they step out of the store and walk. Then, they are spotted by one of the guys in the car. He points to them. Kelly points, telling Beyoncé they are right there. The group runs back to the next street.
Kelly sees a blue door and opens it. They run inside. It’s a men’s locker room. An athlete is puzzled to see them. Two guys, shirtless, with towels around their waists, hit on them. Another athlete wipes his face with a towel. Kobe Bryant ties his shoes and sees them. Beyoncé grimaces, backing up. The group finds some cheerleading outfits. They grab the clothes from the rack.
On the field, the marching band leader (Wyclef Jean) blows a whistle. The band and the group begin to perform. By a chain-link fence, the guys see them and they try to climb over to the other side.
Back on the street, Beyoncé laughs out loud as they talk. After some shopping, the group sees the guys in the car and their jaws clench. The group approaches them and get inside the guy’s car.
The video unintentionally becomes a sexual harassment educational tool. For women, this is an everyday situation they have to face on their way to work, school, etc. A group of four young women are walking in the street, hanging out and shopping. Some men see them in their car and begin to catcall them. The group does the right thing: ignoring them.
However, the guys do not stop when Beyoncé says no. They follow them around until the girls have to sneak into another store and remain out of sight from the guys. At that point, it becomes harassment. The girls have expressed they are not interested. It is then on the guys to respect their decision and move on. But they don’t. The men continue to follow them around all day and into the night, waiting for them as they finish shopping.
The girls see them and cringe. It would be okay for them to be scared and hesitant. They go over to the car, force smiles on their faces and pretend to have fun with them in order to get the men to leave them alone. It puts pressure on the women to do what they want them to do, giving them no choice but accompany them. The group decides what’s best, although one of them is likely thinking of an escape plan. Ultimately, it’s a dangerous situation even if they had kept on going. It would be reasonable for one of the girls to call the police.
The misogyny on display with the men believing they are entitled to the women’s company and rape culture, which it implies towards the end – raise questions. Would the women be asking for it since they got in the car? What about the clothes they are wearing or the fact that they went into a male’s locker room before it (which would label them whores).
While the video doesn’t offer much in answers, it does acknowledge that for a woman, it’s no-win, either leading to more harassment or playing along.
Director: Darren Grant Year: 1999