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What does The Weeknd's "Starboy" Music Video mean?

What does The Weeknd's "Starboy" Music Video mean?

What does the music video for "Starboy" by The Weeknd mean?

The Weeknd released a music video for "Starboy" on September 28th, and it's had everyone confused. The loudest theorists claim it's proof that Abel Tesafaye has achieved the rank of "starboy" in the Illuminati or some satanist cult, but the actual meaning of the video's a little easier to grasp and prove.

The Meaning of the Music Video

The Intro

In the first scene of the video, the camera is slowly moving through Abel's house, and we soon see Abel tied up at the dining room table while a masked robber sits across from him at the table, playing with a lighter--possibly the same lighter from the music video for "Can't Feel My Face" that the haunting antagonist lights Abel on fire with. Since in that video, the lighter was probably symbolic of temptations or weaknesses that made Abel stronger, its presence in "Starboy" could mean that this new person has embraced and taken over those weaknesses.

That person--the robber--gets up, suffocates Abel, walks away, takes off his mask, and reveals himself to also be Abel. Except, this new version lacks Abel's iconic and expressive hair style. He's dropped that in favor of a simpler, shorter style. Thus, a new version of Abel has killed an old version and has taken possession of his home, a similar storyline to what happens in The Weeknd's older music video for "Tell Your Friends."

The meaning here is that Abel is "turning over a new leaf." He may not be becoming a better person, but he is becoming a different person. He's doing away with the old version of himself, and he's preparing to reinvent who he is.

The Cross

A lot of conspiracy theorists think that the cross necklace, the neon cross, and the camera's close up on Abel's eye are confirmations of Illuminati ideas, but what's really happening here is that Abel's reacting to the cross and what it symbolizes about religion to him.

He doesn't give away easily his own thoughts on religion, but from some brief research on my part, he doesn't seem to be particularly religious even though he was raised Christian. Thus, the cross could mean any number of things to him, but my theory is that it may represent the religion of his youth and that it stands in opposition to the lifestyle he's living now. He's a little hesitant about being a starboy, and the cross and old faith may remind him of how he doesn't like the direction he's going in.

But still, he keeps those crosses close to remind him of where he's come from or maybe to symbolize the small part of him that's calling for him to return to those ways. In the video, he only wears the more traditional, blingy cross, but he uses the new, unique neon cross as his tool and instrument.

The Destruction

New Abel uses the neon cross to trash Old Abel's house and all of his records and trophies and accomplishments. What he's likely saying here is, "I've done some really amazing things, but they're nothing compared to what I plan to do." He doesn't need  Old Abel's accolades or accomplishments. He's a new person, and he's ready to do some new and even more amazing things.

The Black Cat

While interpreting music videos and songs isn't an exact science, I'm fairly certain the black cat (as black cats usually are) is symbolic of bad luck or evil, but New Abel's turning the symbol on its head by accepting the black cat and taking it with him as he drives away from Old Abel's house. He may be telling us that he knows he's accepting the darker side of himself (a side he recognizes in "The Hills" when he sings, "When I'm f**ked up, that's the real me"). He may also be telling us that he likes to take risks.

When the cat turns into a panther during the drive, it could be symbolic of two things. One, earlier in the video, The Weeknd walks past a picture of Daft Punk (who helped to write/produce this song) and a panther (and a shooting star/starboy in the background). This panther could be a representation of Daft Punk that acknowledges their contribution to the writing of the song. Two, it could be Able explaining to us his embracement of his own status as a "Starboy." He doesn't necessarily want to be one, but just as he plans on accomplishing more, he may be planning to embrace this darker side of himself even more even as that darker side grows from a small size to a large one.

Deeper Thoughts on the Music Video for "Starboy" by The Weeknd

The heavy symbolism in the "Starboy" music video certainly makes it hard to interpret, but one message does come out loud and clear: The Weeknd is coming back with more. He's moving past an old version of himself, and he's accepting change and adaptation. He's made millions from his album and tours, and he's embracing the person he's evolved into over that process. The music video for "Starboy" is interesting and challenging, but it clearly shows that The Weeknd wants to prove everyone wrong when they assume that he's peaked.

Helpful Resources

  1. Conspiracy Theory Video
  2. Music Video
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