John Legend and Kelly Clarkson have teamed up to create a #MeToo-friendly version of the classic holiday tune, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” The original song, written in 1944 by Frank Loesser, is a flirtatious duet that features a man trying to convince a woman to stay over at his place on a cold winter night.
In recent years, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has been criticized by some for ignoring modern rules of consent — particularly in the era of #MeToo. For some, lyrics like, “I ought to say no, no, no, sir” and “Say, what’s in this drink?” have sounded less like flirtation and more like coercion and date rape.
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If a re-written version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” sounds familiar, it’s because Legend and Clarkson are not the first to do it. In 2016 (a year before #MeToo garnered widespread awareness), Minnesota couple Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski rewrote the classic song with an emphasis on consent.
Since #MeToo, much of the controversy surrounding “Baby It’s Cold Outside” began last year, when after hearing complaints from listeners, Ohio radio station Star 102 decided to pull the song from its holiday playlist. In a blog post on Star 102’s website, radio host Glenn Anderson wrote:
I gotta be honest, I didn’t understand why the lyrics were so bad… Until I read them… Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.
In the new version, Legend re-wrote the song’s lyrics with comedian Natasha Rothwell, a writer from HBO’s hit show “Insecure” to reflect a more consensual duet. Below is a sample of the re-written lyrics.
Clarkson: “What will my friends think…”
Legend: “I think they should rejoice”
Clarkson: “…If I have one more drink?”
Legend: “It’s your body, and your choice.”
The song will appear on an expanded version of Legend’s Christmas album called, “A Legendary Christmas: The Deluxe Edition.” The album drops Nov. 8, 2019.
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