Erykah Badu's "Window Seat" video almost didn't end with the singer getting shot on the grassy knoll where JFK was assassinated. Several endings were tossed around, including one where a naked Badu turned the camera away from herself and onto her camera crew, who were also going to be nude.
The fatal ending was a group effort between Badu and the video's directors, Coodie and Chike of Creative Control.
"She's evolving," Coodie said. "So it's almost like you have to kill off the other person to do that."
"It was also to tie [the JFK assassination] in," Chike added. "He was assassinated there for what reason? There were reasons for his assassination that dealt with him doing things that went against the norm for positive reasons. People try to assassinate your character when you try to step against the grain. That's where the gunshot in the video came. Also, she was inspired by the Matt and Kim video [for 'Lessons Learned'], where they did something shocking in the end."
Badu's video debuted Sunday on her Web site at 3:03 a.m. (Badu has a thing for the number three. Her album New Amerykah 2: Return of the Ankh will be released on 3/30, and they started filming the video at precisely 3:33 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day.) In the clip, Badu walks to the grassy knoll, stripping down along the way. Finally, she gets shot in the head, and as she lay nude on the concrete, the words "Group Think" leak from her head instead of blood.
"It was this redneck out there," Coodie recalled of the shoot. "She was yelling, 'Put your clothes on! There's kids out here!' She kept going on. Then, there was people out there that was looking. I was like, 'It's just a freedom of expression.' And they was like, 'You're right.' This one guy said that. It was cool."
The directing duo, who also produced Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" and "Through The Wire," said they've seen a mostly positive reaction to "Window Seat" on the Web.
"I've actually been seeing way more positive reactions than I have negative reactions," Chike said. "That's cool to see, just in the times today. I feel like five years ago, it might have been different. Society has grown, so we accept something like this more than normal, than we usually would. I was nervous. You know how you're excited to put something out, then you get that second emotion: 'What if people don't respond to it how they should respond to it?' I was nervous when I went on the comments first."
Although Badu's actions in the video are slowed down through editing, "Window Seat" was shot in real time. It took the length of the song to shoot the video. Originally, Badu was going to sing as she walked but decided not to. Days before she went in front of the camera, Badu spoke to her children, all three of their fathers and other family members to make sure everyone was OK with what she was going do. Everyone supported her. Then she had her own insecurities to deal with.
"That was a concern of hers," Chike said about the singer getting naked. "Her body, she's a vegetarian, she also has three kids. So she was like, 'I haven't worked out,' but it was cool. Nobody was trippin' on that. Everybody thought she was super sexy. She has big assets, thick assets. ... That totally wasn't the point of the video. [She was] not trying to show off those things."
"She wanted to show expression," Coodie added. "It was inspired by the Matt and Kim video. She said when she watched that, she got teary-eyed. We needed to be free too. That was her whole thing. She hopes her video can inspire people as well."
What did you think of the "Window Seat" video? Let us know in the comments!