When N.E.R.D. and Rihanna’s surprise collaboration “Lemon” dropped, it came with a powerful video. “The truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off,” the track opens with Pharrell’s voice before the beat drops. Rihanna calmly sits on the edge of a bed with a woman — who we now know to be the star dancer, Mette Towley — on the floor beneath her, as the “Wild Thoughts” vocalist takes to her head with an electric razor.
The dancer for the project sat down with The Fader to talk her experience filming the “transformative” video and getting her head shaved by the one and only bad gal Riri.
JaQuel Knight’s choreography was used as a “storytelling agent” for the piece, and though Towley has worked with Pharrell as a dancer since 2013, she revealed what was so special about this project. “It’s not about the hair. It’s about my physical presence — how I was able to commit was because of this incredible team and what we did together,” she revealed. “It was a transformation for me.”
And as for her experience working in such capacity with the Bajan pop star? “Obviously, to have a prolific artist shave my head was incredible. I just really respect her,” Towley said. “By the time we got to that scene, I was so ready for my head to be shaved. I was sitting on that floor and she was shaving my head — I look a little malaised. I think that came from an authentic place like, ‘I’m ready to be transformed through this performance.’ After, when I looked in mirror, I was like, ‘Wow, this really feels like my internal body and feelings are being reflected in my exterior body.’”
Check out the “Lemon” video below.