According to Chike and Coodie, the directors of the clip — in which Badu slowly strips off her clothes while walking through famed Dealey Plaza in her native Dallas — the singer was aware of the potential consequences but wanted to roll the dice anyway. A Dallas Police Department spokesperson told MTV News on Tuesday that Badu could have been arrested and jailed for up to a year if an officer had caught her in the act. Chike says that nearly happened.
"We already had planned for Coodie to make a certain move with the camera so that she would have the time to get up and do what she had to do to come for the rebirth for the last scene," he said of the jump-and-shoot guerilla shoot that was carried out without any official permits or clearances. "But then after that it was more like, 'Where's the van?' The van wasn't where we all thought it was supposed to be."
But luckily, moments later it screeched up across the street and everyone turned around and made a run for it. "Rushed in the van and she broke," said Chike of Badu's escape, which came as a few shocked bystanders made some noise about calling the cops. (Police told MTV News that they have no record of any 911 calls about the incident.)
"It was nothing but two or three people, it was nothing that crazy at all," added Coodie of the protests. "There was that one lady, though, that was really just crazy with her missing teeth. She was like, 'That was so offensive!' I was like, 'Your teeth are offensive!' I was bugging because Erykah was mad at me for that."
Because the filming took place in a crowded public plaza near a federal building — not to mention that it ends with Badu re-enacting the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy on the same spot where he was gunned down — Chike said everyone involved was on the lookout for any police cars or the sounds of sirens. "I just remember hearing a siren, or every minute looking up and seeing some kind of sheriff's car or something," he said. "So I was like, 'This is gonna be interesting.' "
Though no cops rolled up on them, Chike said Badu was prepared if the authorities nabbed her. "Her contingency plan was get arrested," he said. "She was big on doing it."
Coodie revealed that the directors had already collected bail money just in case. "I think she really wanted to get arrested, even make a bigger message," he said.
"There was definitely no fear as far as that was concerned, as far as she was [intent] on getting her message across, which I can respect," Chike added. "I feel like all people who have done great things in the past — when they set their mind to it there was already no going back. And they were already ready to deal with the ramifications of ... their actions. She was already prepared to deal with whatever consequences because she knew she believed in what she was doing."