3.28.2010

Art vs. Sex

Yesterday, the artistic genius known as Erykah Badu had the internet going Paul Wall (that's "nuts" for those of you that never heard or forgot about Wall's line in Still Tippin'.). Via her web site, she released the first video from her new album, New Amerykah Part II: The Return of the Ankh at 3:33AM yesterday morning.

Shot guerilla style in Badu's hometown of Dallas, the video for Window Seat features Badu channeling Matt and Kim as she walks the streets of Dallas leading up to a shocking ending. Saying anything else would be giving it away, so check it out and then we'll get into some more info and a little commentary on the flip side after the jump.






So the slightly obvious observation is that a lot of men finally understood and saw in raw form what may have led to Andre becoming 3000 and Common wearing knitted caps. Having seen her in concert, I knew. I even commented on the tights when she performed on Fallon a few weeks ago.

Looking at it from an artistic point-of-view, this video is anything but expected. A literal depiction of the song would have invloved a trip on a bus or plane, with Badu reflectively singing while looking out of a window. Instead, we get a video that illustrates freedom and non-conformity that culminates in the assassination of the idea of individuality by those pushing the agenda of Group Think (the words that are yelled out after the shot).

The overall reaction to the video seems to be mixed. On one side, you have those that see the artistic merit and symbolism of Badu stripping down to her purest form, dying for the sake of her own expression and quickly "evolving" like a butterfly into the "new" Badu.

On the other side, you have the "sex section," which is broken into two categories. Go back and review the first comments I made. They clearly minimize the video into one thing: Badu's body. For some, that was the only take away from the video- Badu is phat as hell.

The second category features those who expressed disappointment that a talent like Badu would use sex to sell her video and album. For these people, the "symbolism" was a misdirected ploy to create an edgy, controversial presentation that would have more people talking about her phatty than the messages contained in the song. A couple of folks went so far as to include Beyonce into their analysis of the video.The comparative argument is that Beyonce gets crushed for selling sex, so why shouldn't Badu receive the same treatment for virtually doing the same thing.

Personally, I appreciate the visual, but I respect the art, symbolism and intentions behind the video much more. I'm a man and she has a nice ass, but I'm not going to allow a couple shots of it to limit the greater message. As Badu noted on Twitter yesterday, we are all victims of group think. The challenge is fighting to be an indivual and for what YOU believe in. Even if it means dying for it.

What do you think?


P/S: In case you missed it, check out the Matt and Kim video that inspired Badu to go for hers.


Photo courtesy of Babble.

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