Erykah Badu is a recording artist and actress who, until recently, was best known as "The First Lady of Neo-Soul" for her eccentric, musical mix of R&B, hip-hop and jazz.
Now, she has captured the entire world's attention by straying from her previously accredited high-fashion sense, to a fresher version--stripping naked in public to conclude her latest music video "Window Seat" on March 17th.
The video is a one-take, slow motion stroll by Badu through the infamous Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas, at the very spot where President Kennedy was assassinated 47-years ago. Badu slowly takes off her clothes while walking in front of adults and children, who are touring the hallowed and ill-fated path that Kennedy's motorcade took on Elm Steet before he was fatally shot in 1963.
Badu stands nude as the sound of a gunshot rings out, and her head snaps back violently. She then falls dead onto the pavement as the frame freezes on her sprawled nakedness--and you hear Badu narrate the closing words:
"They who play it safe are quick to assasinate 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 confident in groups, with less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become, afraid to respect an individual. A single person within a circumstance, can move one to change--to love herself...to evolve".
From what I gather based on various articles and her personal Twitter texts, Badu was trying to overcome her own individual fears, while combating what she calls the "Group Think" style of modern society. "I will not express my opinion if it opposes those I love and fear", she states.
Badu admits she was petrified while shooting this video, but that lliberation began to set in, and she conquered many fears in those few moments. "I hope it will encourage others to do the same in their own way, and I wasn't embarrassed by my nudity... because I was too busy looking for cops", she said.
In fact, Badu was lucky not to have been arrested for indecent exposure, however, no one reported her-- and she also broke the law by filming without a permit.
While escaping prosecution, Badu did not avert strong criticism from the press, and strong public outcry from nation-wide audiences...as well as those who saw it in person. Adult tourists were heard shouting: "This is a public place. You ought to be ashamed--put on your clothes".
All in all, I feel Badu showed poor taste and dis-respect, not only for common public decency, but for what's become a sacred public landmark (Dealy Plaza) that has marked time, and become a focal point of our national growth..
Perhaps I'll include more on Erykah Badu the 39-year old musical artist and actress in future blogs, as her successes include six albums and five film appearances--including her role as Rose Rose, an incest-victim daughter in the movie hit "The Cider House Rules".(One of my favorites)
But for now, Badu is the woman with the hottest music video around (a true 'walk on the wild side'), that was intended to overcome fear--and instead inspired controversy, along with a quantum-leap in fame.