Unless you’ve been hanging out under rocks or have been spending your waking moment in the most bowel recesses of the Netherworld at Tea Parties, you’ve probably been exposed to singer Erykah Badu’s most recent joint, Window Seat (and by “exposed”, I mean that quite literally). In the video, Badu marches along now-tourist spot Dealey Plaza, stripping bare ass naked. Once she has removed all of her clothes, she dramatizes being ‘shot’ around the spot where President John F. Kennedy was killed close to 50 years ago.
I know. Weird, right?
For your viewing pleasure (or displeasure. I’ll let you decide), you can check out the edited version of the joint on her site. It’s been pulled from YouTube and most other places to view video clips online. So all we have left is her website. Knowing how sex sells these days and how controversy breeds attention, I can imagine how her website is blowing up right now. But that’s another issue.
After watching the video, I’ve concluded a few things:
(1) Weird s**t will always get a pass if it’s done by a “deep”, neo-soul type. From some reports I’ve read, some people on the streets made a fuss about it during the filming. But from the blogs I’ve been reading and the conversations I’ve been having with others, the fans have come out in droves mostly supporting her and trying to find the prophetic message behind…well, her behind. That’s just how we do. Academics are taught to look for meaning and art admist the controversy. Tree hugging, accoustic guitar playing, uber neo-liberal types are trained to find subtle messages deeply buried in abstract – and oftentimes controversial – “expressions.” But I guarantee that if Britney Spears, Miley Cirus, or – yes, Beyonce – pulled this mess, it would have been the final nail in the coffin for their public image as overly sexual people. Public nakedness from sexualized personalities = vaccuous. Public nakedness from neo-soul types who wear headwraps and African attire = deep.
I’ve always found Erykah Badu’s “deepness” packaged and litered with cliche, but I won’t go into that too much more. I have a bad enough reputation as it is with my response to my cousins ‘nem. If I start slinging insults at “Beautiful, Black, Mother of the Earth” types, I won’t live past the first act. In fact, even typing this is causing me to look around at the sistahs with a little bit of caution.
(2) At the risk of sounding extremely sexist (my disclaimer), Erykah Badu is STACKED! I unapologetically point out that when it comes to admiration of the female anatomy, I’ve always been a leg man. But is Erykah working that bottom or what? I think I would seriously consider developing a close, intimate, hands-on relationship with her bottom. She can keep the rest of herself. Kinda reminds me of the scene from I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Just leave me the romp. You can take everything else with you:
For me, this is where things get challenging. In many respects, I think the modern day feminist movement is full of crap. But there are certain aspects of sexism and misogyny about which I try to stay pretty conscious. Objectification of women is one such aspect. So, I’m stuck in a place where I sincerely appreciate Badu’s assets but don’t wish to convey any sexist sentiments. Thanks for putting me in this bind, EB.
(3) Finally, I think EB made this video simply because, well, she can. She has been afforded a luxury only offered to a select few in our culture. She has complete and free reign with what she does with her life. In some ways, it’s refreshing. In other ways, not so much. She was able to take her free-spirited, “Screw being civil” approach all the way to the top of the success ladder. But as much as the average person may adore that about her, we should also remember that her free spirit earned her a life of wealth, fame, and prestige. That same life of wealth, fame, and prestige continues to shield her today. Only a person in her position could do a video in public as naked as the day they were born and still have millions of devoted followers worldwide. Meanwhile, if you or I pulled that same stunt, we’d most assuredly be arrested for indecent exposure, probably fired from our job, and would be scratching out a living somewhere on the street. OK, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch. But my ultimate main point remains: affluence allows a person to be much more of a social non-confirmist without having their quality of life negatively impacted as a consequence.
So those are my thoughts. Any you’d like to share? The floor is yours.