In the ongoing battle between censoring and art, we can file today’s battle: Erykah Badu vs. American History. Unlike other artists who have drawn inspiration for controversial music videos from house parties (Britney Spears’ ‘If U Seek Amy’) or religion (Madonna’s ‘Just Like a Prayer’), Erykah combines nudity and American tragedy to spark some new outrage among media pundits.
For her video for the song ‘Window Seat,’ Erykah steps out of of her car, and proceeds to walk down the street, slowly disrobing until she’s completely naked and falls on the ground. Apparently, this video was shot in one take and was done without warning the crowd she would eventually flash. But…that’s just the beginning. What street was Erykah walking down? Oh, that just happens to be Daley Plaza in Dallas, Texas. It’s actually quite a popular street to use in guerilla videos – you may have recognized it from that other popular video – the JFK assasination. Yeah, she flashed a lot of bystanders where Kennedy got shot.
While I (and many others) struggle to understand what this concept has to do with the song, I do think she deserves a right to free expression. And as there were no complaints during filming, she won’t face indecent exposure charges. While I dred the ridiculous censorship and decency “outrage” this will spark – at least it will get people to stop pointlessly debating healthcare. If pop culture is good for nothing else, it’s the best distraction we have from real news.
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