City of Dallas v. Erykah Badu
In daylight and all of its glory, it's quite controversial for anyone to strip completely nude on a public street. But Erykah Badu, like many true artists, is always controversial, though less extreme in most cases. However, there is a method in her madness; Erykah Badu peels away the exterior layers (literally) to reveal the truth about herself and others. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us, the truth expressed through this video is illustrated in a clever and profound way. Ready for the juicy details?
What really happened?
Well, Badu was filming the video to her new single, "Window Seat," from her newly released album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh.
The setting is Badu's hometown, Dallas, Texas - downtown, Elm Street, Dealey Plaza, approaching the site of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963.
Erykah and her posse do not have city permits to film at this location, but she isn't afraid of a little guerrilla filming!
In a single-take video, Erykah is filmed removing her clothing while walking toward the location of JFK's assassination. She strips off her clothing until she is nude, and then "BANG!!" A rifle sounds and Erykah collapses to the ground, blue blood dripping from her lifeless body, pooling on the street and spelling "groupthink." (read 1984, by George Orwell.)
People stare in amazement - the crowd goes wild...to some extent. (charges were filed.)
What's the reason for this madness?
Badu is hoping to catalyze a discussion of "groupthink." Her video is protesting the assassination of the individual. The video ends with these words:
“They who play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs, ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups – less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become. Afraid to respect the individual...”
Erykah further explains her reasoning behind the video:
“I tied it in a way that compared the [JFK] assassination to the character assassination one would go through after showing his or her self completely,” she said. “That’s exactly the action I wanted to display.”
More to come?
Will the Dallas city attorney charge Erykah Badu with a crime?
Will people REALLY get the message that the artists seeks to convey?
...sadly, probably not.
Sources: Erykah Badu Official Site, CBS News, Dallas News, Access Hollywood
You can learn more about Regina's insight on music , on her blog "On the Record"