Badu’s Window Seat causes a storm


A couple of weeks ago we posted about Erykah Badu’s new album and linked to her newest video.  The video, for a track called Window Seat was a teeny bit more controversial than I expected.

In the video, Badu walks through downtown Dallas and strips her clothes off in slow motion.  Now, most people would figure that this was either a) Fake and done on a soundstage somewhere or b) Staffed with extras and cleared with the locals.  It was neither.

Badu just guerilla filmed this video, strolling through Dallas while stripping in public and eventually collapsing at the scene of JFK’s assassination.  A political statement, to be sure.

But let’s go through this step by step.  Start with the video itself:

Why do it at all?

NPR’s The Two Way writes that:

Badu, a Dallas native, tells the Morning News that Dealey Plaza was chosen intentionally because the video — for her song Window Seat — is about “the character assassination one would go through after showing his or her self completely.”

This is entirely possible, but it’s also a bit far-fetched in my mind.  Character assassination has definitely been occurring after this video, with lots of accusations and questions about why Badu would do such a thing.

The Nudity

This is probably the biggest thing on people’s minds.  Why would she get naked?  The Police apparently have begun an investigation after receiving complaints, and it’s possible that Badu will wind up with a fine.  Considering the video clearly shows kids in the immediate area, I understand why parents were concerned.  Nudity is not always a big deal, and some are making the argument that nudity has earned itself a bad rap.

NPR’s Tell Me More quotes

And then there’s this interesting take from our friends at, written by Natalie Hopkinson.

And here’s a perspective from one of our own, Tell Me More producer Jasmine Garsd:

“I think the issue here is that she’s chilling naked in a non-sexual way. People are so used to seeing over-sexualized, exploited women on TV so people freak out when they see a woman just naked, relaxing, with cellulite, some tummy (she looks great though) — ESPECIALLY a woman of color. You are supposed to be writhing next to 50 Cent all oiled up. You are supposed to be oversexed, having Nelly swipe a credit card in your butt. You are not supposed to just be naked, walking. It’s too humanizing. And even if you are not a woman of color, you are supposed to be Britney writhing half naked with a snake promising you are a virgin. How is this any less sexual than Beyonce’s new video with Gaga, or any rap video? If anything, it’s less exploitative.“

This is definitely an interesting take on the issue.  Part of me honestly does agree that it’s a bit less exploitative simply because it doesn’t sexualize the nudity.  Badu’s always been a bit unpredictable and also a bit of an exhibitionist.  At the same time, she’s not necessarily known as someone who uses her sex as a way to sell her albums in a way that many stars do today.  In this video, despite her being nude, you don’t get the sense that she’s sexing things up.

Instead, you get the feeling that she’s very comfortable in her own skin.  I honestly think I wouldn’t be nearly as intrigued by this video had it not been for the JFK link.

The JFK Link

Now, Badu quickly went on the defensive after accusations that she was disrespecting JFK.  On the Wanda Sykes Show, Badu made her passionate defence.  Pitchfork quotes her:

Talking to Sykes, Badu defended the video, claiming “that’s what performance art is about… I think my point was grossly misunderstood all over the United States of America.” She also said that she wasn’t doing it to disrespect Kennedy’s memory, calling him “one of my heroes” and “a revolutionary, a rebel.” She goes on to say that Kennedy was “not afraid to butt heads with America, and I was not afraid to show America my butt naked truth.”

You can see the video of her interview with Sykes on a BET blog here.

Like I was saying, I don’t think the video concerns me for anything except the faux shooting.  I’m not easily scandalized, and video otherwise is fine.  I get why people are concerned, but Badu is no stranger to controversy so I don’t think it’s unexpected.  After listening to her interview with Wanda Sykes, you can hear she genuinely does respect JFK and that she probably wasn’t trying to disrespect him.  Even so, I think the video would have been a legitimate hit and a more subtle message if she had done this minus the gunshot/collapse at the end.  Just my two cents.

I wonder if ?uestlove had any idea what he was getting himself into when he collaborated with her for this track.

15 Replies to “Badu’s Window Seat causes a storm”

  1. I enjoy you because of your own efforts on this site. My aunt take interest in setting aside time for investigations and it is easy to see why. Many of us know all of the compelling medium you deliver sensible tricks on your web site and as well as boost contribution from others on this point plus our favorite princess is certainly becoming educated a lot of things. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You’re doing a first class job.

  2. I wanted to make a simple remark in order to thank you for some of the fabulous points you are placing on this website. My time intensive internet research has finally been recognized with useful concept to write about with my co-workers. I ‘d assume that many of us site visitors are truly fortunate to dwell in a really good website with so many perfect people with valuable advice. I feel rather lucky to have used your web page and look forward to some more thrilling times reading here. Thanks again for everything.

  3. Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extraordinarily superb opportunity to check tips from this blog. It is always very lovely and as well , stuffed with a good time for me personally and my office acquaintances to visit the blog particularly 3 times in 7 days to read through the new guides you have got. And lastly, I’m so usually contented with the splendid information you serve. Selected two points in this post are ultimately the most beneficial we’ve had.

  4. I and also my pals happened to be studying the excellent recommendations from the website and so the sudden I had an awful suspicion I never thanked the web site owner for those secrets. All the people were as a result excited to read them and now have truly been tapping into them. We appreciate you simply being well kind and for selecting this form of incredible things millions of individuals are really wanting to be aware of. My honest regret for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.

  5. I must show appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this matter. As a result of exploring through the world wide web and meeting views which are not productive, I believed my entire life was well over. Being alive without the strategies to the problems you’ve solved by means of your entire blog post is a critical case, and the ones that would have negatively damaged my career if I had not noticed your web page. The training and kindness in maneuvering the whole lot was excellent. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a step like this. I can at this moment look forward to my future. Thank you so much for this impressive and effective help. I won’t think twice to endorse your web blog to any individual who would like guide on this situation.

  6. I have to point out my appreciation for your generosity for folks who really want help with this important subject matter. Your personal dedication to getting the solution throughout had become astonishingly significant and has always allowed others much like me to reach their dreams. Your amazing warm and helpful report means a great deal a person like me and even further to my office workers. With thanks; from all of us.

  7. I wish to express some appreciation to this writer for bailing me out of this type of incident. Just after surfing around throughout the the web and meeting principles which were not productive, I thought my life was gone. Living devoid of the solutions to the issues you have solved by means of the write-up is a crucial case, and the kind that could have badly damaged my entire career if I had not noticed your web blog. Your primary capability and kindness in dealing with everything was very useful. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not encountered such a subject like this. I can also at this moment relish my future. Thanks so much for this expert and results-oriented guide. I won’t think twice to recommend your web blog to anybody who desires guidelines on this area.

  8. I simply wished to thank you very much all over again. I do not know the things that I might have tried in the absence of those recommendations contributed by you relating to such a concern. It actually was a very alarming condition in my circumstances, nevertheless taking note of this skilled tactic you dealt with it made me to weep over happiness. Now i’m happier for your information and trust you know what a powerful job that you are putting in teaching men and women by way of a blog. I’m certain you haven’t come across any of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *