Over the weekend, the video for [artist id="872"]Erykah Badu[/artist]'s "Window Seat" premiered on her Web site and immediately caused a stir.
With an explicit nod to [video id="374937"]Matt and Kim's "Lesson Learned" video[/video] — in which the duo strip in the middle of Times Square — Badu sheds her clothing while walking through downtown Dallas in her clip. Almost as soon as she is totally nude, Badu is shot in the head, falling near the same grassy knoll near where President Kennedy was shot in 1963. Instead of blood, animated words that spell out "groupthink" leak from her head on the sidewalk.
"They who play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they don't understand," she speaks, off camera. "They move in packs, ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel more comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become, afraid to respect the individual."
On Sunday night, the singer was active on Twitter, explaining the video, which was directed by Coodie.
"We only had 1 shot to get it right," she wrote. "We didn't plan the shot. Coodie and I just went raw dog. Too busy lookin for cops and being petrified."
The singer also explained that the entire scene of her walking and stripping down took just a couple of minutes. They got their footage and ran like hell.
"The people caught in the shot were trying hard to ignore me," Badu tweeted. "Lol, [except] one guy grabbing [my] clothes. ... He disappeared. Didn't have time to look for him or clothes. We ran. It was the peeps off camera yelling.
Despite people who shouted at her, she said, "I held my head up and kept moving. ... There were children there. I prayed they wouldn't b traumatized."
As for the greater public's reaction to her video, visitors to sites like RapRadar.com gave it mostly positive reviews.
"Badu's body of work over the years speaks for itself," reader Darkaqua wrote. "The reference to JFK [is] great, using nudity as a reference to people not wanting to conform to the masses, but shot down for their beliefs, was a classic touch. Badu has never followed the script from the very beginning. ... She's always been naked to the industry, never following status quo. Kudos to her. She doesn't have to explain herself. Alanis Morrisette did it years ago for the very reason. Stripping down for your beliefs no matter what others say or believe."
Meanwhile, a person named Rhyme wrote that Badu "shouldn't have taken her clothes off. Now she's just another typical female artist in my eyes."
"I expected the gossip blog sites to spin it negatively," Badu tweeted. "I expected people to ride with me. ... So it is true. Being honest CAN get u assassinated. Your character, spirit,& sometimes physically. Interesting. What drives this? Keep dialoging."
The Grammy winner said that before she made the video, she spoke to the fathers of her children, two of her kids, her mother and various members of her family, and all of them supported her.
"I told Puma (5) my plans. She looked at me with a blank face and replied 'ok mama. Can I have another pudding?' " Badu wrote. "I asked @jayelectronica if I should go [through] with it. He said, 'IF YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT DO IT - YOU GOT 1 SHOT TO BE ERYKAH.' "
Badu's new LP, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, will be released tomorrow. Over the weekend, Badu performed in New York at Good Units in the basement of the Hudson Hotel.
What do you think of Erykah Badu's "Window Seat" video? Is she making a powerful statement or using controversy to boost album sales? Sound off here!