Your Thoughts: Erykah Badu’s Window Seat

Like everyone else on Twitter, I was geeked for Erykah Badu (AKA @fatbellybella) ‘s debut of her video for Window Seat as soon as she tweeted the link. Full disclosure: I am a fan. I sincerely appreciate that Erykah Badu has always been about more than just a hot song with a catchy hook. As a true fan of music with meaning, I’ve always appreciated what she contributes. Having said that…

Window Seat left me conflicted, but in a good way.

From the minute she removed her coat and shoes then kept walking, I knew this video would end with some symbolic act – I wasn’t necessarily expecting complete nudity, though. But Badu being Badu, who has always spoken out against what’s expected from women in the media — needless to say this was about more than being just butt nekkid with a beeper on, and glitter.

I love that Erykah went so brave and so bold with her latest video. She has elevated what could have been a mere companion to her latest song into a true artistic statement, the likes of which we don’t often see in today’s industry. Addressing the subject of groupthink delivers much needed knowledge to just about everyone who has seen or will see this video. I appreciate her message of confronting fear, stripping away one’s defenses, of finding freedom despite what others may expect of you.

But in my opinion, the nudity in this video is a double edged sword. The act that makes the video so powerful and significant and worthy of discussion, is what also may serve to undercut her message to the masses.

Just about every blog comment or tweet I’ve read about this video has focused more on Erykah’s “donk” than even attempting to unpack what the video is trying to convey. More about the perception of sexuality than the substance. And the comments I’ve read online bother me and make me wonder – could she have tried to deliver this message without the nudity? Is this purely gratuitous, or is this complete artistic freedom? Would this video have recieved the same kind of response if say, Jill Scott, Ledisi, or Angie Stone were the ones removing their clothing?

Erykah Badu being Erykah Badu…I don’t think she cares much about what we percieve her video to mean. She’s gonna go on speaking her truth either way. That’s what makes me love her, love her music, and love what she brings to the table each and every time — and that’s why I plan to cop New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh tomorrow.

But enough about what I think. What did you think of Window Seat? And do you plan to buy Erykah’s latest album?

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Comments

  1. Charrise says:

    I get what she was trying to do, but I think she could have made the statement without the nudity. Most people (as we have seen) will be distracted by that.

    I must say that I am not offended by the nudity and I commend her for having the courage to actually go through with it. Yes, some look at her body in lust, but as women we all know that we want to change something about our body, and she braved that insecurity and put her body out there as part of her art. I respect that.

    It is also important to note that she was inspired by a rock group called Matt and Kim that she shouted out in the beginning of the video, so she was no at all trying to sell sex, she had an inspiration. Anyone who vibes with Badu will know where she was trying to go with it.

  2. I have walked across many a street somedays and wanted to throw my clothes off too and just get down to being me. I applaud Erykah for her bravery and artistry. I think its funny how American’s can only understand the Black naked body when it’s for the purpose of sex, anything else and people run scared or confused. Beyonce can be half naked all day and pop up and down a plastic toy rifile and call herself a femeninst, wear blonde weave and proclaim”she can do for me what martin did for the people” and record sales fly high…and we sit and question if erykah can make her own point in her own way ?

  3. I think its very clever and Ms Badu is BRILLIANT at self promotion. This video cost nothing to make. It pushes buttons with the JFK refference outside her loyal but dwindling fanbase and comes in politically charged times. Do I feel its terribly profound. No I dont. I feel that there is such a drought of anything that hasnt been edited by entertainment machine that this video can inspire poems, and proposed dissertations etc.
    Look at it this way… if Trey Songs broke out Marvins Gayes Mercy Mercy Me (a phenomenal environmentally aware song decades ahead of the current movement)in todays space he would probably be given the Nobel Peace prize for genius…

  4. And the point was?

  5. I think the message was very “empreor’s new clothes”…

    we see what we see, yet pretend we don’t, for fear of what others might think of us if we comment on what we see…

    groupthink… not wanting to be the freethinker…
    ignoring the freethinkers among us …. becoming part of the collective.
    and continuing as if nothing’s wrong when the freethinker is taken out… right before our eyes…

    happens daily…

  6. At first, I was mad that she was taking off her clothes but her audio at the end brought the video together for me. I see why she used nudity to convey her message; stripping off layers, being vulnerable, etc. When you do that, you open yourself up to criticism, as she has done time and time again and even more so with this video. And I can see how that can relate to the words of the video. She wants fans/the public/people to love/accept her and she’s giving her all but it’s not enough. That’s just my opinion. Most of the backlash I see comes with her nudity and I’ve even seen where people think she’s trashing JFK’s legacy. She’s opened up dialogue, pushed the envelope and got a different, tight message across. And she has a wonderful body after three kids (notice that was the last comment:=)

  7. I guess the question is how does this video inspire? How does it inspire one to do, think, feel? Or are we just patting erykah on the back for having guts?

  8. Natalie D says:

    I love her more & more each album. Erykah is trying to shatter the veil “we the people” see through every day and bring us to reality. By being true to herself & her own beliefs, she inspires me to do the same. I won’t be taking my clothes off and walking down the street any time soon, though…

  9. great perspective on the video, Bella!

    you’re right, it will undercut her message with some.

    with others, it will sink in after the fact.

    with some, not at all.

    all i know is the song is great, she does what she wants, which is beautiful, and i’m glad that our generation has her to exemplify free thought.

  10. It made me look! Sex/nudity sells & she used it a good way.

  11. I really like the song but I have to admit that I found the video quite boring. I’m not offended by the nudity but I don’t think that women can rail against media portrayal of us and the unfair expectations that society places on us with one hand, and then use our bodies to make some kind of artistic or political statement with the other. I like the discussion on groupthink that the video was supposed to be about but the second she started removing her clothes it took the focus from that message and placed it on her sexuality. I’m not surprised that the focus of the discussion has shifted and now it is just another naked woman in a video being objectified. Obviously, it is not her fault that people want to perceive the video this way, but I still feel that the execution is a little off.

  12. Love love love the video. The message at the end was powerful! She is bad-ass! Love her

  13. Black Honey says:

    Is that bravery? I’m conflicted. On one hand, I understand she is saying that we can’t deal with the real. Few are able to accept others as they are.

    On the other hand, the nudity is detracting. First, why did she leave her hair covered? Second, I’m vain and all I could think, yeah Badu it’s great you feel free enough to walk around butt nekkid but girlfriend, could you have hit the elliptical or the stairmaster or the reformer before you unleashed all your glory on the world? Ain’t nothing deep or cute about your nips and bits jiggling free.

    I can look at any rap video to see that.

  14. I have much respect and love for Erykah, her work as an artist/actress and her music.
    When I watched the video I was shocked yet at the same time thought, “You go ‘head, Ms. E! Do you, girl! Do it!”. I would never be that bold to make a point.
    Do I think she’ll get some backlash?.. Yes, but not from me.
    Do I wish she had done this video in a more controlled environment meaning w/o kids around?… Yes I do.
    Do I still have mad love for her, her music and artistry?..
    Definitely, yes. And I will be purchasing the album.

  15. In an age and day where music doesn’t quite sell like it has in the past I believe this was done for some amount of shock value. I have to believe this is true.

    Nevermind the individualism being expressed by Ms. Badu in the video, that’s irrelevant I imagine, but just the notion that she is being creative kinda falls weak.

    I loved the video, love the song and, as always, wish this beautiful and fine black sista all the success in the world.

    It would have been ridiculed had, let’s say, Jill Scott or Angie Stone done the same.

  16. I love that Erykah was so bold, in more ways than one…being that she had to know there would be a bit of backlash, and there would be those distracted by her nudity, and there would be those who would find her ugly and there would be those who would find it politically incorrect, and there would be and on and on…..her cypher keeps movin’ like a rollin’ stone! You go girl! She managed to stomp all all our issues just by undressing and speaking her truth at the same time! My 28 yr old son liked what she had to say and felt it was artistic, and was pleasantly shocked at her beautiful curvy body. Many of us sistas is jiggling like that and we aint going to get on no workout equipment either. It’s all good!!!

  17. i love how badu did her vid gorilla style and she’s always expressed herself in a creative way! i have ALL of badu’s albums and will continue to collect these masterpieces!

  18. Black Honey says:

    I jiggle, but I keep my clothes on.

  19. Did anyone else think they were watching a gaga video at the end there? I did. All in all it lacked authenticity. Which is out of character for Ms. Badu.

  20. UnalteredBeauty says:

    Great queston, D! So much so I’ll repost it

    “I guess the question is how does this video inspire? How does it inspire one to do, think, feel? Or are we just patting erykah on the back for having guts?”
    –D

  21. This video brought about a powerful dialogue between me and my husband.
    I think it’s interesting that Black Honey brought up how Erykah was “jiggling.” That’s part of the message. She’s being her true authentic self.

    “D” said the end reminded her a Lady Gaga video. I laugh at that, because Erykah has always reinvented herself, I don’t think any of us know what her real hair looks like. Also, Lady Gaga has become the stamp for what is “original” to the point that it’s not – “groupthink”.

  22. Black Honey says:

    Yes, be true to yourself. Feel good about yourself. Celebrate yourself.

    You can do all that without running naked through the street.

    Keep your clothes on.

  23. Hi Tonya, I agree with you however, Ms. Badu admits that this particular video was inspired, down to the “death” at the end. She copy and pasted this concept from another group. It is not authentic. So as much as she is all the things you say and is always re-inventing. In this particular case she wasn’t as authentic as she had been, & perhaps that’s why it’s so controversial.

  24. Stephanie says:

    Erykah Badu can do no wrong in my book, I have no issues with the nudity in this video whatsoever, I feel that with the nudity in the video she wasn’t trying to “sell us” something, not in the way that other entertainers do; Rocking the latest designer fashions, collaborations with the newest artist/entertainer on the scene, or on location on some exotic island,etc. I disagree with D about the video lacking “authenticity” I think Ms. Badu is as authentic as it gets, I hope this video makes everyone think, such a simple word right? But to those simply dismissing this as not so much creative, those that are “distracted by her nudity”, those that dismiss it as “self promotion”, or those that say “another naked woman in a video being objectified” look a little deeper, I mean simplistic as a woman walking down the street undressing, a woman walking down the street naked, As D asked “How does it inspire one to do, think, feel? For me it’s simple, I have been a fan of Erykah Badu’s way before her 1st cd dropped, I know that she is a true artist, a nonconformist, she’s not a brand and if you know true artist, they are thinkers, they follow their own vision, they’re a little out there and self involved to say the least, and know Ms. Badu’s music and the messages in her music I can hopefully assume that the nudity in her video has to have a deeper meaning than just her attempting to be creative,like that title of The O’Jays “Message in Our Music” album maybe it’s the message in HER music..as well as the message in the intro and out-tro of this video??

    @ BlackHoney how typical “but girlfriend, could you have hit the elliptical or the stairmaster or the reformer before you unleashed all your glory on the world? Ain’t nothing deep or cute about your nips and bits jiggling free.” While reading these comments I knew someone, especially a woman was going to mentioned something negative about Ms. Badu’s body, “groupthink” I think Erykah exposing her imperfections or “jiggling” was authentic, did she need to do it? No. Did it make more of an impact? Definitely. It’s funny that you say all you could think was negative about her body, when you were watching this video, well when I first saw this video I was not standing in judgment of how not perfect her body may appear to be, I was looking a little deeper, past the nudity, but we can’t all be thinker right? Some of us wear judgment of others so well.

  25. The song is dope, but I don’t see how the video has anything to do with the actual song.

  26. From Alexis Renee: “I think its funny how American’s can only understand the Black naked body when it’s for the purpose of sex, anything else and people run scared or confused.” This. I just wanted to highlight that comment, I think that’s so on point.

    I think it’s hilarious (as in, laugh to keep from crying kind of hilarious) that on a site that was started to celebrate black women’s beauty, to celebrate black women being their authentic selves, people are criticizing Erykah Badu for doing exactly that: celebrating her authentic self. It’s okay not to like the video but to say she should have hit the gym before making this video is a low blow.

    As for the nudity, it’s cool. The thing about art is that different people will bring different things to it. You can’t control if someone will be “distracted” by nudity to see the bigger picture. All you can do is put yourself out there. Be fearless. Be vulnerable. And realize that someone will get something from it and resolve to be fearless and vulnerable in their own lives. That’s how Erykah has been inspiring me, long before this video dropped.

    Oh and I already bought the album via iTunes. (I’m an impatient person; couldn’t wait for a record store to open.) It’s closer to Baduizm Badu. I dig it.

  27. Loved the video.. and I downloaded it from itunes this am.. and as I head out to work this am.. that’s my commute music.. Ms. Badu is more than a hot beat.. it’s the lyrics that move ya.. and I know I’m in store for some powerful ish as I embark on my journey..

  28. I’m going to be really real here:

    Once I saw it through to the end, I totally got what she was doing. But then again I’m an intelligent, questioning, discerning person. Most people AREN’T. The majority of people who are only commenting on her butt AREN’T. Even those who are complaining about the nudity may think they are, but they probably AREN’T. In the commentary surrounding this video we are witnessing the very thing the video describes: Groupthink, in all its forms.

  29. Black Honey says:

    @Stephanie:

    I think it depends on the group. We see jiggling boobs and butts everyday in rap videos. Isn’t Nicky Mahaj making a career of showing off her goods? It seems to me in some corners of our community, the product of groupthink is the praise her “phat” a**, not the thought that Ms. Badu should have considered firming up a bit before she went skipping down the street butt naked.

    Still, I insist that Erykah could have made her point without taking off her clothes, she’s been an example of the power and beauty of individuality for 13 years. Creative or not, Badu is not an ingenue and some tricks are best left to kids.

  30. I just wanna chime in here on one point — I love you bellas! I find it hard to think of other blogs where the discourse is this intelligent, respectful, and engaging. You all rock, and I learn so much from our differences of opinion.

  31. I’m with Black Honey. I’m not a conservative Christian, bourgie nor uptight,nor ashamed of my Black women’s body, and I think Erykah could have gotten her point across another way. Even if she green screened her goodies folks woulda gotten the point(hell this stunt would give even ol crazy Grace Jones pause-lol)- Someone mentioned her trashing JFK’s legacy-If she did the same thing in the area where Dr. King was assassinated I wonder if so many people would be high fiving her. And i am a true Erykah fan from the beginning, I think she’s extremely talented, gorgeous and one of the few music innovators of my generation- that doesn’t mean i will love everything she does but like Bella mentioned, i’m sure Erykah isn’t concerned with pleasing everyone. I watched an interview she did somewhat explaining the album and video, and as much as i hate to say it, she seemed a little off somehow-rambling, can’t really explain it, but i’m still kinda conflicted like Bella. And yeah, i’m buying the album.

  32. Maybe I’ve lived aboard too long. I don’t see anything wrong with nudity in this context.

    Women of all shapes and sizes go topless at the beach here and nobody cares. No one hides the children.

    We have some jacked up attitudes about sex and nudity in America. We use it to sell everything under the sun but yet freak out when a mom has the “nerve” to breastfeed a child in public.

  33. I am co-signing with LBell’s comments. Feel free to like the video or not, feel free to think that the video doesn’t go with the song (which I agree that it doesn’t), but the fact that she had to have a voice-over at the end to explain the purpose of the video and people still don’t get it (instead focusing on her behind, or why her hair isn’t ‘done’ or going off on some tired “black female role model” discussion people have been having since the late 1980s. etc.) is a sad commentary IMO.

  34. While I like the song, I didn’t get the connection to the video. I have no issue with nudity so long as it makes sense to me. I don’t even watch or listen to Lady Gaga but it’s obvious that our artists are having a hard time keeping up with her and now it seems that instead of tapping into creativity to compete, they are just looking for schock value. I wasn’t shocked by seeing her nude, I was shocked at how mediocre this “return” is.

  35. A lot of what I have had to say about this video has already been said, but I think it needs to be iterated that America’s relationship with nudity is puzzling due to its hypocritical nature. I do not think nudity is a bad thing; its purity has become corrupted in our society to the point that no matter how a person presents themself while nude, it is taken negatively (judgment, shaming) or overtly sexual (objectification) by the majority. Whether one chooses to admit it, being naked is natural: we are born naked. It is one of the most natural “things”. I love this video and I love its plethora of messages. Inspired or authentic, this video has managed to move many people so quickly–and I think that is Erykah’s simple, ultimate, goal. I will be buying her album. :)

  36. People will always be distracted by something. In 1996/7 it was her headwrap, in 1998 it was her relationship with Andre, in 1999 it was the dreadlocks issue, in 2000 it was the shaved head…it goes on and on (in the words of Miss Badu herself).

    The irony is…when you are completely nude…totally exposed…no external layers to “distract,” people are ultimately distracted by your nudity; your willingness to be SO exposed. The chatter continues “Why’d she do it?” “Who would do it?” “Was she right?”

    Being completely naked will make people talk about why you’re naked in the first place. And I understand the importance of being socialized and accepting social norms to live your life and be a functioning member of society. But on a deeper, metaphysical, WHOLE, ETERNAL level – people being distracted by your nudity and your pure soul driven desire to make a statement with no external, physical, material interests (because, for real, homegirl is NOT expecting this vid to be in heavy rotation on MTV or to get an MTV video music award) is an exact example of groupthink and arbitrary opposition to what is “strange”.

    You could go running into the street. Naked. Screaming for help…and people will ask “Why’d she come out of the house with no clothes on? She couldn’t put clothes on before she ran out of the house?” We are easily distracted animals. And that’s how groupthink thrives. Convince people that some fringe, non essential, material aspect of someone or some group is more powerful and meaningful that what or who they actually are, demonize or victimize them, and watch the masses accept it as truth.

  37. TraceyJoy76 says:

    Much of today’s music is nonsense, it really is. It may have a catchy beat and rhythm, addicting meaningless lyrics but it leaves little to the imagination. Many of the popular artist who win awards cannot even sing. They do they very thing that Milli Vanilli was destroyed over. They are about foolery and making an insane of amount of money. The true art from of musicianship seems to have faded away in the albums belonging to my parents. Now do not misunderstand me, we still have some people I will call musicians today. They are not all around & not as popular. They have a select following. In my opinion Ms. Badu falls into that category. Many people do not understand her messages. Window Seat is nothing short of her best work IMO. She hold in her hand the power to slap the industry that is filled with stupidity and fill it with brilliance. Sometimes there is a need to step back, reevaluate and come with something hard to blow things wide open. Badu did that with Window Seat.

  38. @TraceyJoy76….I agree today’s music is nonsense. I’ve always liked Ms. Badu sometimes it takes me a minute to get her message(just being honest:)but once I get it’s always an ahh haa moment. At least she makes you think on another level or a different way. There are these other artist(term loosely used) who do outrageous things and put out videos that leave me saying “those are 10 minutes I can never get back in my life” and they are called exceptionally talented by some. Though I don’t totally get the video’s concept yet(remember it takes me a minute sometimes!!)I really do believe there is an awesome message being told. Keep doing you Ms. Badu!!

  39. I think the video was very clever, much in the style of Miss Badu. She definitely has everyone talking, which folds in quite nicely with her theme of groupthink. For my complete take on it, visit: http://www.wivesintraining.com/2010/03/erykah-badu-is-so-cleva.html

  40. I just wanted to chime in again and say that I think a lot of people are give Erykah Badu a little too much credit for an idea that was not her own. She straight copied the video from another artist. You can see the video here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJkymylTNU4

    I think their video was better executed and the ending had more impact for me. Let’s not applaud someone for being bold and for being an artist who constantly reinvents herself when that is not what is going on here. You can’t even call it an inspiration when all she did was change the location and the cause of death. Also, they did not have to explain the message of the video whereas she felt the need. The minute you have to explain the meaning behind your artistry it has failed. Art is supposed to be up to interpretation rather than telling us what we are supposed to take away from it.

    If I go and make a straight copy of Single Ladies can I be labeled as the next Beyonce? That would be nice…

  41. universoul*truth says:

    Why are we discussing this to such lengths? She is an artist. Period. Art is about expression. We do it everyday when we apply make-up, whip our hair into submission and drap our booties in the latest fashions. She choose to express herself without clothes…and she has us talking. Discuss amongst yourselves darlings. I’m out….

  42. Just wanted to come back and say i totally agree with LBell’s and Niki.

    PS- I got the album. And I must say I am really enjoying it.

  43. Great blog Bella and discussion.

    @Athena: I have to disagree with you on the originality thing. I don’t have a problem with Badu borrowing the idea from Matt and Kim. She gave them a shout out in the first few seconds of the video. If she didn’t, then I woulda been a little peeved. But she gave them even MORE props on Twitter where she thanked them again. People borrow things all the time. Since you mentioned Beyonce, the Single ladies dance was inspired by Gwen Verdon Fosse. We are all inspired by someone or something. Copying without giving credit can be tacky but borrowing and giving credit is fine with me. She took Matt and Kim’s video and made it her own and gave them credit. What’s the problem with that??

  44. I honestly was shocked. A part of me felt a state of shame, another part of me was in disbelief that she did that in plain public viewing unrehearsed. I get the story and idea she is trying to convey, but aren’t there better ways?
    When i was watching the video, I took note too of the onlookers, some people just couldn’t understand what was going on, and you can’t blame them. I mean it’s already sad that we face stereotypes, but even here at my school, students are thinking “this black woman done lost her mind”.

    Either way, Erykah has a great spirit about her, I do think this is one her lesser effective statements, but in some aspects it’s getting the message across, because people are talking about it. Would I recommend she do it again? NO!

  45. I agree with Sophia, Badu clearly states at the beginning of the video that it was inspired by Matt & Kim. Music in general is a compilation of inspirations. Show me an artist who hasn’t borrowed a page from someone else’s book, it’s impossible.

    Everyone is inspired by someone and Badu’s interpretation was original because she was doing it. I believe if I had seen that Matt and Kim video I would have gotten a different message from it. That’s the beauty of both of these pieces.

  46. Personally, I have seen the video due to a lack of interest. I’m a fan, so I decided to show my love and support for her by buying the CD.

  47. Today’s artist will do anything to make a sale. They do this type of promotions all the time. Rihanna, Lady Gaga and now Badu. And there are many more, sex and nudity sell!

  48. If she had not briefed her loyal twitter followers on what groupthink was exactly, I question how many of us would have understood the video in that context. However there are no right or wrong opinions in regards to this video. We are all entitled to interpret this the way we see fit. The video was successful in that vein, at least. I hope we continue to appreciate each others insight, because we are all right.

  49. i think a lot of people are incorectly putting erykah in the same category as lady gaga, beyonce, nikki menaj and rihanna. erykah’s nudity in this video is not for the purpose of selling sex. and for people who are talking about her “jiggling bits,” again, her purpose was not to sell sex. there was a deeper message to her video. erykah is an artist. lady gaga, beyonce, et. al. are performance entertainers. there is a difference.

  50. Often times it benefits the individual and the group to research and ask questions before assuming their perception is the best and true one. Y not look up “Groupthink” and seek an understanding about the sociological term before making judgements about Ms. Badu’s expression of her interpretation of it for music video. I didn’t understand the video at first (I still may not). But as a crtical thinker I knew it best to pick up a darn book (+ search the internet for research) and READ before commenting negatively or positively.

    I now appreciate the concept of the video especially since my undergraduate degree is in sociology and I understand that the explanation and interpretation of sociological concepts OFTEN make people feel uncomfortable because they point the finger back on us as individuals, racial/gender groups, and national citizens. They are not often pretty, instead they challenge us to see beyond our comfortable box of accepted thought. In the end, I didn’t necessarily LOVE or HATE the video. I just appreciate her for making a video that encouraged me to READ, QUESTION and DISCUSS.

    Side note: The comments about her “jiggling bits” seem to be from someone insecure with their body or very flat bodied. Ms. Badu doesn’t need to jump on a Stairmaster unless SHE or HER MAN/HER WOMAN see fit. :)

    Humbly adding my Perspective…

  51. I have no problem, whatsoever, with nudity. Stating that Erykah should have left it out of the video, because of someone else’s snide comments, is like telling me not to wear my hear in locs, cause ya know how some folks are.

    I caution folks making changes to their bodies/hair/way of thinking, just because others won’t understand, won’t get the symbolism and will say something snotty. If that were the case, I’d have to just lock myself in the house, cause I can’t control what others say, think, or do.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Wow. This isn’t about art. It’s about business. Erykah is a product. Unique, artsy, and attractive in her own special way? Absolutely! But still, she’s “the product.” It’s the music industry, people. The point is to sell. Period.

    … and are some of really of the belief that she made the decision to express herself artistically in THIS way on her own? Motown Records is about to rake in the dough.

    • Come Out and Play says:

      Months later…

      While I appreciate your pointing out that “the point is to sell,” I have to encourage people to think beyond the market at some point.

      The point of nearly everything in America is “to sell.” And I don’t know if I believe that Badu’s artistic integrity is jeopardized by a concept that essentially defines the culture she is striving to reach out to.

      Why can’t it be that she is exploiting commercialism/capitilism in order to make her voice heard? It goes both ways, Anonymous.

  53. Wow! That was most excellent – the music, the lyrics, the style, everything. Love it! I think a truly artistic video like this causes people to locate their true selves. As evidenced by these comments.

  54. JazziStar says:

    As a young fan of Badu I realized the message in the very beginning of the video. I think she is very brave for being so straight forward in showing the message. I commend her for what she did and what she has always done. Instead of us trying to search for the message, she boldly shows it in the most obivous way. Of course the nudity will cause some distraction, yet I was more distracted by the lyrics trying to figure out what she meant, and the video blantly told me. Maybe she could of portrayed the meaning without showing nudity, yet that wouldn’t be Erykah.

  55. mmmm…the irony is in her video no one cared what she looked like as she walked down the street…

    She put it out there but no different to me than seeing women with 7/8 of it out there…at least she got real and to the point.

    I see this everyday people not caring whose laying on the street for whatever reason…it wasn’t about her nakedness but her humanity…

  56. Her video reminded me of work by the photographer Renée Cox, which celebrates self-love/beauty but also confronts.

  57. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments here. I think this has been one of the few places where people have respectable things to say, regardless of whether or not they agree. I guess Afrobella, you just have a good solid group of readers! (And probably some good skills at moderating your blog too! lol.)

  58. I watched this video in AWWW of her ability to use her own medium to convey a message of learning how to be yourself. One of the above comments made mention of the fact that this idea was previously done. I watched that matt and Kim and IMHO the only simularities are the fact that in both videos they strip down. E.badu (again IMHO) in stripping layers of oppression, issues, censorship, hate, self loathing and im sure many other things that hold us back from facing who we are and what we can do with our lives.

    I found the video to be more than just a “lets strip in public to see if we can get away with it” video which is what the Matt and Kim Video seemed to be after I reviewed it.

    I also wonder why so much conversation has been wasted on this video, the nudity, or the message. DO u like the music? how about the lyrics? Do you appreciate her singing or since some people are soo caught up in her body and nudity, “How bangin does she look with her nu thickness?!” In My Humble Opinion. I loved it all and I think she looks great. If she would have came out singing Window Seat in a red and green plaid and faux fur floor lenght coat I would still listen and appreciate her for being brave enough to be herself!

    Check the mirror people before attempting to check someone elses expression.

    Peace.

  59. designdiva says:

    well she certainly got ppl talking on this blog! Very thought provoking comments posted.
    I wasn’t upset about the nudity, I just didn’t get the connection to the song. The song is hot!! I’ve always liked her style.

  60. mochachoc says:

    I think people are crediting this video with far too much artistic symbolism. As for the accusation that those who oppose the video are somehow repressed – nonsense. It has nothing to do with nudity but context. Has anyone thought about how we are left with yet another unsavoury image of a Black woman. Do we need more? People there is a war going on with how Black women are collectively perceived. Come on now, we don’t need to willingly perpetuate the idea that Black women are crazy. This video gets a big booo from me.

  61. melaniecheryl says:

    why is she crazy because she took her clothes off in artistic expression. It’s just skin, people. if she were a white artist would you feel the same about the nudity? we might not even pay it any attention, or it might catapult Erykah into becoming a music industry titan (i.e. Madonna)

  62. I am a huge fan of Erykah Badu. Her music is always daring and filled with meaning. While I love the song and message she is trying to convey in the video, I wish she would have stopped short of complete nudity. As we’ve already seen, for most people it distracts from the message, rather than bringing it home.

    Erykah Badu is an amazing artist and performer. It’s great to see her making great music.

  63. Xylem44 says:

    Erykah is simply an amazing genius. I we can talk all about her intentions on our way to iTunes or where ever you buy your music.

    There is nothing sexual about this video despite the fact that there is total nudity. I have seen far more sexually aggressive videos from the likes of Rhianna and Ciara and although their music and style is not my taste, I do understand they are simply catering to an industry that currently has a demand for their type of music. Would I prefer that such imagery did not exist for young impressionable girls to adapt? Absolutely! But the solution is to dry up the demand by preventing would be young customers to spend their monies on other things.

    As for Eryka’s approach, I think it was right on the mark! Here we are all talking about it and sharing our perspectives with each other. In this case the bait and the hook are the same thing and so its natural for some to find the her methods questionable even if we do admire the genius budget friendly simplicity of it all.

    The funniest and saddest thing of all this has yet to happen. We know that as a people we are incapable of just enjoying entertainment for entertainment sake. We have to live it, mimic it, add the little silly sayings to our vernacular (ex:isthathowyoufeel?)and so it goes without question in the span of less than a month a few girls, probably young girls in need of attention and possibly seeking a spot on a reality show will attempt this in public…. will probably get arrested and we’ll probably know their names just like we know the name Divine Brown (apparently there is not enough brain bleach on earth to erase that name from my brain). My point is that in her attempt to get us to think about the danger of group mentality, Eryka will have probably create a rash of public strippers. That doesn’t mean that something was wrong with her message or how it was delivered, however. It just means that something is very wrong with us.

  64. update

    the video reexamined…

    http://www.erykahbadu.com/

  65. flygyrl72 says:

    Great post, Bella. Hate that I’m so late jumping on here, the discussion was most definitely enlightening. I’ve enjoyed reading ALL of the posts regarding this.

    Having said that though, I agree with Athena, Mom Noir & some of the others, the nudity muddies any message she was trying to put out there. And at the end of the day, it didn’t have anything really to do with the song.

    Like a lot of us boho Black gyrls, I have always connected with Erykah, because I felt we were very similar about not giving a fig about fitting into whatever boxes society wants us, as Black females to fit in.

    Which is why I raised an eyebrow when she started to disrobe. That her beauty was just put on display to the masses like that…it made me cringe for her. Because she’s too dope for these types of typical tactics. And I’m FAR from a prude, quite the opposite actually.

    And unlike what someone else said, it does indeed become sexual as soon as she started showing her ass, whether that was her intention, or not. I am shaped very similar to Erykah, as I’m sure a lot of us are & I’m careful not to get too crazy with the tight or revealing outfits, because, as we know, it immediately becomes about that big ass or boobs or whatever, instead of about me the person & how dope I am on the inside, donk a donk aside.

    I mean, she’s Erykah, & I don’t think she really gives a f@#k about what any of us thinks, but more than that, as mochachoc said, everyone, Erykah included, is trying SO hard to act like there was some deep message in there, & you know what, it just wasn’t that deep.

    Artistic expression? Of course it was, she’s an artist & she was expressing, but beyond that, you’re reaching…

    Anonymous’s post hit the nail on the head. It was what it was, an awesome self-promotion stunt to get her & her album release on everyone’s radar. Mission accomplished, Erykah, I ain’t mad at you. You got three kids to feed, LOL…

    Welcome to the industry people! Before this, only us r&b & neo-soul people were familiar with her, now, with this trick, she’s gained notoriety among all types of people. Instant name recognition too. More power to her, I suppose, but let’s not go tripping all over ourselves trying to act like this video was so next-level,& mind-blowing (Note to all you Twitterers), just take it for what it was, entertainment from one of our loveliest, most talented artists, gratuitous nudity aside ;-)…

    Peace!

  66. funkystarkitty50 says:

    I have been a fan of hers for years. I totally get what she was trying to do. I don’t understand how schizo society is about nudity. Why is it OK to see video girls practically naked in rap videos or seeing sex scenes in movies where they are just as graphic, but more pointless. She is trying to say something and suddenly some are being so closed-minded just because she is making a statement. I just don’t get the controversy at all.

  67. IMVHO

    “…is this what we have become?…” _Badu, Window Seat

    The outcry about, and criticism of, this video begs the response –”YES!” This culture has become desensitized to EVERYTHING but sex. It leads the discussion, even while we are in the throes of two wars, a flat economy, record unemployment, the increasing economic underclass, the Haitian earthquake, AIDS, and everything else. What is the lead in the the news almost EVERYday? Who Jesse James is doing, and where Tiger’s lil thing has been. Sex brings out the adolescent, or the puritan, in many in the U.S. Although, since when has nudity been synonymous with sex? The human body, in all its similarities and variations, is a phenomenal, beautiful, thing.

    In “Window Seat”, this talented, and very gifted Black
    WOMAN is telling us something that is important to her. Her voice in this song is ripping. Rather than her hands, it is as if her voice tears off her clothes, laying her soul– not her body– bare. Towards the end, the onlookers–and this looks staged–seem to completely ignore her as she is shot and falls, in complete contrast to those who watch as she begins taking off her clothes. (There is even a rather creepy guy in the background picking them up as they fall.) And then her spoken word, intending to make us think, to feel, to be introspective and retrospective, comes.

    It intrigues me a little that, to date, very few in the media have discussed the work itself, or what she says; most have focused on Badu having stripped on a public street and the need for her to be punished for it. Is walking nude on a public street worse than killing someone on a public street? Evidently, it is because this truly seems to be who we have become as a culture. Public murders happen in such regularity that it is no longer news. (I pause for my daily WTF? moment.)

    This is a virtuosa performance from a woman who never fails to observe and participate in the human condition and, then present it provocative in ways that are interesting and illuminating.

    Badu is an artist in every wonderful sense of the word, and an artist’s charge is not to make human beings feel good, or bad or safe or happy or sad. An artist’s charge is simply to make us feel

    something.

    In viewing this work, if you think that this is simply a publicity stunt or an attempt at self-promotion, then you have missed the point.

    Thank you, AfroBella, for posting this discussion.

    Peace
    Etomi
    (a SistaPoet)

  68. Honestly, I don’t buy it. The nudity was not necessary to make her point. People can make this seem like some big grand gesture of deepness, but I think the woman just wanted the attention. Plain and simple. I’ve been a fan for a long time, since she first released her music, but I think this was simply her wanting people to stare at her booty, as I’ve heard many men say they didn’t know she had one, and to assert her celebrity status that she can do whatever she wants. This was not planned so there were children around to see this and parents forced to discuss the female body or nudity or whatever without having a choice to do so. There is a such thing as social responsibility. There are times to disregard what others think and there are times to be sensitive to others and be responsible for how your actions impact others.

  69. I should say assert her celebrity status that she can do whatever she wants under the guise of “creativity” or some intellectualism of certain issues. the words themselves could have said it all if the meaning was there.

  70. Oh, and by the way, she does care what people thinks. She wouldn’t have taken such an action if she didn’t. Whether she wanted to illicit this type of response or any type of response, positive or negative, the intention to get a response suggests that she does care.

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