A November Beats By Dre commercial featuring rapper Flo Milli has reemerged into the public consciousness, drawing criticism from thousands of fans this week.
In the Beats commercial, the 20-year-old gets out of a car parked near a confederate statue. As she stops in front of the statue, the song “May I” from Milli’s Ho, Why Is You Here album starts to play. After a few moments, the rapper smirks and then laughs at the confederate monument before breaking out into a slight dance.
It's my personal mission to find and obliterate whoever set Flo Milli up for failure like this https://t.co/Mhojc1qiKs
— Q. Anthony (ɔpɛ asem) (@andraydomise) January 4, 2021
According to HipHopDX, the ad was initially attributed to the Flex That campaign launched by the headphone company in late 2020. The campaign features short ads focusing on racism and social justice in the promotion of the new Beats Flex headphones. Tennis phenom Naomi Osaka and rapper Cordae, who are dating, are also both featured in the 2020 campaign.
Flo Milli’s fans were confused by the video’s concluding message of “Flex That Clapback,” while others were perplexed by Beats By Dre's decision to approve the controversial production in the first place.
Waves of people expressed that the execution of the video fell short of the social message it may have been trying to illustrate.
Listen I love Flo Milli, but they set her up with this one. Why tf would she randomly break out dancing in front of a confederate statue and what does “flex that clap back” mean? ???? https://t.co/PLyXZ16lfj
— F. (@SolanasChanel) January 4, 2021
It really makes no sense lol ???? she doesn’t even dress like that
— Eric Kelley II (@EricKelleyII) January 4, 2021
I was expecting her to donkey kick the statue or sumn,,, that would’ve been revenge. Not no damn beats and a dance break????????
— Adyanna (@okayady) January 4, 2021
Other fans of the 20-year-old Mobile, Alabama native criticized Apple, who owns Beats, for the video’s tone-deaf message.
That L is for Apple and not Flo Milli. Stream her shit so she doesn't have to do these commercials again.
— minimoose (@probsascam) January 4, 2021
I'm gone ignore that Flo Milli clip. Apple playing in our faces same way Pepsi did.
— we going to the multi meat function (@pumpuptheJAM93) January 4, 2021
With confederate statues and monuments being removed by order around the country, many people thought the video could have sent a far more poignant message.
I feel like the commercial would've worked if Flo Milli's lil dance routine then shattered the statue to pieces.
— Marcus Jones (@marcus_jones) January 4, 2021
I thought she was gonna dance so hard it destroyed it…
— Heyokavoy (@heyokavoy) January 3, 2021
Prior to her breakout year in 2019, Milli said she grew up idolizing Nikki Minaj and was a member of a rap group called Pink Mafia, according to XXL. She went viral on TikTok in 2018 for remaking Playboi Carti’s popular “Beef” song.
In August, she told Complex that her rise in music is all the more gratifying because of the effort she put in to make it happen.
"I wanted to know how it really feels to actually be reaping the rewards for your hard work, because I've worked so hard on that mixtape. People don't even know what happened behind the scenes. But I really learned how it is to be a full-blown artist, and it's not easy,” she said.