4.08.2010

“WINDOW SEAT”: Be mindful of the double standards we create


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)


20 comments:

  1. Jennifer Scott-WashingtonApril 8, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    I like his perspective....thank you Brother Jesse for allowing your blog to be an open forum for dialogue. You're so humble to let others write as well.

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  2. GO HEAD BROTHER!!!

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  3. although I feel what he is saying, I still thought it was distasteful for her to do it...I'm just saying....but I do like his points.

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  4. Too bad we can't get pass the booty to see the beauty....great article hasaun

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  5. I love the article..but she didn't have to take off her clothes!

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  6. very insightful article! we must break the chains that keep us in bondage and get away from being like the group. we can't let others dictate or desginate what we should be as individuals.

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  7. Brotha Muhammad-
    Great post. I understand your message. Badu perhaps used the wrong method to 'transcend' the message. It is all lost. Ironically, YOU did a better job of getting her message out. Interesting. Thank you.

    Muata Nowe

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  8. NIIICCCCEEEEE!!!

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  9. Be mindful of the double standards we create!! A very srong messsege, indeed!!!

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  10. potent message, potent response - i loved the message

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  11. Speaking of double standards do the knowledge to her witty critique of what it takes to make it in the industry as a woman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skEvdFYtj4A The fact of the matter is that the majority of viewers of this video will not "get" her message because skin is the greatest detractor from rational thought. IMO, she'd have made a more powerful statement had the reel run in reverse and she was putting clothes ON.

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  12. To the Last Anonymous Post: WOW, dropping that video definitely says alot.

    And thank you everyone else for your comments. I am enjoying the dialogue and you all should see the comments on my Facebook wall.

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  13. She could have made a video that doesn't include nudity. She is supposed to be a great artist. Artist are creative and that open display of nudity wasn't creative or even original. She is just following the way of the enemy, the devil. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad (PBUH) taught us not to follow the way of the devil. He will try to get the black people to take off our clothes like they do. It seems the devil is succeeding with some our people.

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  14. in response to Anonymous:

    YES You are so on point!!! And go www.ErykahBadu.com she actually revised the video so that it does run in reverse.

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  15. "Allah, Himself, has said that we cannot return to our land until we have a through knowledge of our own selves. This first step is the control and the protection of our own women. There is no nation on earth that has less respect for and little control of their women as we so-called Negroes here is America. Even animals and beasts, the fowls of the air, have more love and respect for their females than have the so-called Negroes of America.

    Our women are allowed to walk or ride the streets all night long, with any strange men they desire. They are allowed to frequent any tavern or dance hall that they like, whenever they like. They are allowed to fill our homes with children other than our own.. Children that are often fathered by the very devil himself. Then, when the devil man decides to marry her, the so-called Negro press and magazines will make it front page news. The daily press will not print a so-called Negro man marrying into their race, but you seem to think it is an honor to your own nation when your daughter goes over to your enemies, the devils.

    Our women have been and are still being used by the devil white race, ever since we were first brought here to these States as slaves. They cannot go without being winked at, whistled at, yelled at, slapped, patted, kicked and driven around in the streets by your devil enemies right under your nose. Yet you do nothing about it, nor do you even protest."---THE MOST HONORABLE ELIJAH MUHAMMAD "MESSAGE TO THE BLACKMAN" BOOK----Please read the entire chapter titled "Protect And Elevate Your Woman"

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  16. Busi Peters-MaughanApril 9, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    That was very well said my brother. That five year old is on point and so are you.

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  17. Sis. Lacretia Makeover MuhammadApril 9, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    The getting nude part in the streets, in front of people's children, without warning or notice just doesn't sit well with me. I love the arts in all of its forms. I love freedom of expression. It is a God Given Right. But I know that my reaction to anyone coming out of their clothes on the streets, in front of my children wouldn't have been pleasant. We as parents can choose to turn off the t.v., but we can't turn off the nudity if we get caught out there like those parents were...I pray the Allah continues to bless our sister in her musical and creative genius.

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  18. I love Ms. Badu's new song / CD. I have ALL of her published music. I understood the message in her video. As an artist myself I understand the strong desire of an artist to have their work accepted and acknowledged. That desire sometimes manifest in a very child like manner, and music/art is the vehicle artists use to act out.

    'If you don't accept/acknowledge me I'll yell, kick, and scream (get naked) to force you to do so'. The five year old's perspective is exactly that. The view of a five year old child.

    ***"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?"***

    If that child sees Erykah's public nakedness as "cool and free", then how will we get that child to see modesty as something that's cool and free. Maybe we as artists need to stop seeking acceptance and success in an industry that gone mad. Husking corn and feeding swine . . . Using the beauty of our God given talent to feed the low desires of the people.

    There was a better way with the wisdom she has to communicate that message. When you are a child you think & behave as a child. If we are adults let's put away childish behavior.

    With that said, I still love you Sista Badu.

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