Is Erykah Badu Really Out Her Mind, Just in Time?


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I am not sure what to think of Erykah Badu. According to the two-hundred plus comments on Shadow and Act-an online website that recently featured Badu’s most current music video “Western Esotericism “- many people are clear about what they think of her increasing comfort with nudity.

Etomi suggests: “…Badu has succeeded in her purpose.”

Vanessa states: “…lately she’s become straight out weird. Must be all that angel dust she’s been using.”

While still, Juston thinks: “…she’s becoming increasingly connected to a smaller and smaller audience by these off-the-wall videos and publicity stunts…”

In her most recent video, Badu features her sister’s breasts, baduty as well as her lips-the ones that part to make way for baby heads. Throughout the video Nayrok (Koryan Wright), conjures up several images, most of which many commentators and viewers alike have either stood up against or scurried to the nearest corner to covertly pleasure themselves in.

And with all of the public feedback, we have yet for any of it to be informed by Badu’s personal perspective.

Until I take up my dream job as professional tea-sipper who often times interviews her favorite artists, I will continue to dialogue amongst myself with what I think artists will tell me in response to my questions (otherwise known as an interview):

TEA-SIPPER: Hello Ms. Badu. How are you today?

BADU: Chlorophyll.

TEA-SIPPER: Congratulations on your most recent video “Western Esotericism”. I really wish we had more time to deconstruct the title of your video, but viewers are not as concerned about that as they are with your portrayal of Black women’s anatomy. I notice your sister was covered in glitter, a blood-like serum and finally a white substance that looked at times like icing, and at other times like male ejaculatory juices. Can you please help me to understand the symbolism? I am lost.

BADU: Well, the glitter scene was in honor of Kwanzaa. Obviously because we do not celebrate Christ-mas, we do not have a Christ-mas tree. I couldn’t vibe with that. Black women are goddesses, creators, earth beings, and as such should be honored during this time of the year. What better way to do this than to sculpt her into the holiday as the tree, the root, the fruit, the essence? The glitter symbolizes tree ornaments.

TEA-SIPPER: Kwanzaa is six months from now.

BADU: Yes. You are incredibly smart.

TEA-SIPPER: Thank you. As for the blood-like serum. Please explain.

BADU: Well, see. I make babies. And the blood represents the process of giving life to seed.

TEA-SIPPER: You just quoted yourself. And as for the male ejaculatory juices/icing. A commentator on World Star Uncut referred to the substance as looking like: “…some body busted a hunnit nuts on her at the end.” To some this may be received with chuckle in cheek, but there are some women out there who feel as though you have done little to debunk a dominant perception of Black women as sexual objects. What is your response to this?

BADU: I know what is being said about Black women. I am one, and it is very unfortunate that we have been objectified and commodified so much to the point that any expression of nudity is seen as a replica of oppressive images. In short, Tea-Sipper, you are right. The substance is icing. I was hoping someone would be smart enough to surpass the inclination to lean toward a common understanding and meet me where my sweet tooth lies.

TEA-SIPPER: Thank my mother as well as you for taking the time to sit with me. Before we end, I would like to apologize for the nation not having caused as much uproar over Tyga’s “Make it Nasty”. Enjoy your flight back to Dallas.

…and that is how the interview would go.

All banter aside, I am interested in what Badu would really say in response to the public tongue lashing. I would have to agree with a commentator named AGREED who remarked: “I think it’s sad that we can’t look at a nude woman anymore without automatically sexualizing her.”

Wether it is Badu’s intention to offend anyone, she has certainly got many of us thinking about our comfort zones and to what degrees they can be stretched. For this purpose, the video should be called Western Elasticity. Perhaps I’ll suggest that to her next time we meet up for tea.

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2 thoughts on “Is Erykah Badu Really Out Her Mind, Just in Time?

  1. Artists are constantly pushing the boundaries and Erykah Badu is not the first. Though I am a little thrown by the video, I don’t automatically get the message she is delivering. So it would be interesting to hear her version of the video. Her perspective. People still get shocked by nudity and extreme images but they pick and choose what they are shocked at. A half naked woman dancing in a video is given a thumbs up and a declaration of praise to the anatomy of the black woman in the way Erykah depicts it, is seen as vulgar. Perhaps it is us that need to change rather than the video. My main response is, I didn’t like the song…much. ha

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