Last week, the Flaming Lips raised eyebrows with their wholly NSFW video for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which featured collaborator Erykah Badu and, more prominently (or nakedly), her sister Nayrok, who spends the majority of the clip nude, slathered in glitter, blood and all other manner of fluids.
Of course, soon after the video’s premiere, it was yanked from the web, and the Flaming Lips issued a statement that read, in part, “The video … is unedited and unapproved. We, the Flaming Lips, accept full responsibility … it has outraged and upset a segment of fans and we apologize if we offended any viewers.”
Well, if you were offended by the clip, you weren’t the only one: On Wednesday, Badu lashed out at Lips’ mastermind Wayne Coyne (via one epically long tweet), calling him “self-serving” and the video itself “tasteless, meaningless [and] shock motivated.”
“Perhaps next time u get an occasion to work with an artist who respects your mind/art, you should send at least a rough version of the video u plan to release b4 u manipulate or compromise the artist’s brand by desperately releasing a poor excuse for shock and nudity that sends a convoluted message that passes as art (to some),” Badu wrote. “By the way, you are an ass.”
Badu then goes on to rip Coyne for his behavior leading up to the “Face” shoot, saying he had originally shown her a concept for the clip that was full of “beautiful, tasteful imagery,” but, once on set, he had changed his mind, and “begged” Badu to sit naked in a tub filled with various fluids (blood, fake semen, etc). She refused, but “out of respect,” Badu had her sister Nayrok — whom, she points out “is much more liberal” — to film the scenes in the tub. Badu said she had Coyne’s assurance that he would edit the video in a way that made it clear that the nude woman was her sister, and not her, but that never happened … and Badu didn’t realize it until the video premiered online.
“I told you from jump that I believed your concept to be disturbing, but would give your edit a chance … U disrespected me by releasing pics and rough vid on the internet without my approval,” she wrote. “That is equivalent to putting out a security camera’s images of me changing in the fitting room. Our art is a reflection of who we are … I have no connection to those images shot in their raw version.
“As a human, I am disgusted with your what appears to be desperation and poor execution,” she continues. “As a director, I am unimpressed. As a sociologist I understand your type. As your fellow artist I am uninspired. As a woman I feel violated and underestimated.”
Badu — who is no stranger to nudity in videos — (eventually) concluded her rant with a whole-hearted “You can kiss my glittery ass,” and adds “O and Nayrok told me to tell you to kiss her ass too.”
Of course, hours later, an unrepentant Coyne responded — with an image of his glitter-covered lips and a message to Badu: “I kissed it! Thanks!”
As of now, that’s as far as things have gone, and a spokesperson for the Lips did not respond to MTV News’ request for comment on the matter.
Have you seen the “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” video? Share your reaction in the comments below!