By Hasaun Muhammad, Guest Blogger
I remember first being introduced to Erykah Badu’s music back in middle school. At the time my best friend was completely immersed in every aspect that Ms. Badu gave of with her style-– needless to say I thought she was and is Erykah’s biggest fan. Times changed from a few years back when I was a teen and the messages we gravitated toward and what mainstream hungers for today.
Within hours of Erykah premiering her latest video, “Window Seat”, I watched it on www.ErykahBadu.com. I immediately sent a text message congratulating her on the video and such an awesome message. The video’s message was so plain and simple, or at least I thought it was.
A few hours later I went to check different blogs to see what the publics response was to her video; and “WOW” what a mixed response she received. Although most were commenting on her amazing physique, others were ranting over whether or not her being nude in the video was a good message to send.
Meanwhile, the people against her nudity never acknowledged a firm or clear understanding of what her message actually was.
About two weeks later (which was the night I wrote this), Erykah sent me a text asking have a seen the article on the Five-Year-Old Girl Who Reviewed “Window Seat” Video. After reading it, I thought to myself, “This child is so clever! “
She was able to articulate an understanding of the root message of the video better than most adults.
The video is an analogy that supports the lyrics of the song and basically her stance as an artist. In the song she’s crying for attention and direction-- from mainstream audiences, etc. Figuratively, she’s asking the world, what do you want from her- what does she have to do for you to fully accept her.
The nudity was significant to the point of that is how she has presented herself as an artist all of these years (naked in her artistic expression). And basically, though she has received exceptional success through her career-- the recent years of her career hasn’t done as well, in terms of the public reception, because mainstream does not accept that type of responsible artist.
For a second think of the buzz she received with New Amerykah Part One or even the buzz of this latest album before she released the video. It was extremely low, despite her delivering great albums.
Hence, why she said at the end of the video, "They play it safe, quick to assassinate (not support) that which they don’t understand." The "They" is the music industry, radio, mainstream audience, etc.
The five-year-old girl’s explanation was so simple and on point when she was asked, why was Erykah shot. Her reply, "Because she was naked and cool and free?"
The young girl nailed it right on the mark. Today’s mainstream we are quicker to accept raw sexual messages pumped to ourselves (and our children) and not say a word of opposition when one of the top three female performers appear on a major teen awards show singing, “Boy, are you big enough”; or even when another top artist dances in her video with a thong and bra sending strong sexually explicit messages all throughout the video.
Before you rush to judge, be mindful of the double standards we create. Try to understand the artistic message.
(Hasaun Muhammad can be reached at Hasaun@AMMMG.com)