Erykah did a Badu, Badu Thing

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.

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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One response to “Erykah did a Badu, Badu Thing

  1. Why did she take it too far? Because as an artist, she expressed herself and a message that, quite frankly, many people don’t want to hear? Her message in the video is not about stripping her shoes and clothes off in public, nudity, or anything really related to the physical. It instead gets across that the moment you reveal your true self and don’t conform to what society expects, people want to take you down… which is why she references the location of JFK’s assassination. People didn’t like his way of thinking; they got scared, so they eliminated the issue instead of thinking about it. It is the embodiment of Freud’s theory of “The Uncanny”. As per Wikipedia The Uncanny is: “an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange. Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within…This cognitive dissonance often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize.”

    I think it is incredible how Erykah was able to create such a thought provoking video based on such a simple concept, and really the reaction from the majority of the public is exactly what this video is meant to illustrate, and attempt to liberate them from.

    At the end of the video, she sums up her plight: “They play it safe…Are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. They are US! This is what we have become, afraid to respect the individual. A single person within a circumstance can move one to change, to love our self, to EVOLVE.”

    Are you still staring at her lifeless, naked body on the screen and thinking she took it too far?

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