After “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” took the video world by storm in 1983, everyone and their mother realized the power of having a good narrative to accompany the visuals for their songs. Some of those people didn’t realize how much comedic value these videos would have years later. Case in point: Rick James & Smokey Robinson’s 1983 collaboration, “Ebony Eyes”.
Flight-based narrative aside, this video is notable for several reasons. One, it never made it to MTV (the network was still stung by comments James made calling MTV execs racist in light of their continual rejection of his clips). Two: the video was recorded while Smokey and Rick were both in the throes of cocaine addiction. I can’t watch this video anymore without thinking “cocaine is a hell of a drug”.
Did you know that Rick wrote this song after receiving complaints from black woman regarding his penchant for going out in public with a series of white chicks (most notably “The Exorcist”‘s Linda Blair)?
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