Sunday, April 04, 2010

Erykah Badu - Window Seat (Music Video)

Erykah Badu - Window Seat (Music Video)

By Alan Duke, CNN

* Singer Erykah Badu strips in controversial video for her song "Window Seat"
* Some fans respond via Twitter, praising Badu's artistic vision
* Singer revisits scene of President Kennedy's 1963 assassination in Dallas, Texas


* Erykah Badu
* Twitter Inc.
* John F. Kennedy

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Erykah Badu shed her clothes as she walked along a Dallas, Texas, sidewalk until she was nude and then fell near where President Kennedy was assassinated.

The result was a controversial video, released Saturday, for her song "Window Seat," which Badu said was "shot guerrilla style" with no crew and in one take March 17.

Children could be seen nearby as Badu stripped in Dealey Plaza, a popular tourist spot since Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

The singer's management did not immediately respond to request for comment, but Badu responded to the controversy via Twitter.

She tweeted that "there were children there. i prayed they wouldnt b traumatized."

Badu will not face indecent exposure charges for shedding her clothes on the Dallas, Texas, sidewalk, a Dallas Police spokeswoman said.

Although children were nearby, no one filed a complaint against Badu after the March 17 incident, Dallas Police Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther said.

"But if we had had a call and would have caught Ms. Badu in the act of walking down the street taking her clothes off, she would have been charge with a Class B misdemeanor," she said.

The R&B singer said she was making a statement against "groupthink," which she tweeted was an "unwritten rule" that "i will not express my true opinion if it opposes those i love and fear."

Some fans sent tweets praising Badu's artistic vision.

One fan tweeted to Badu on Sunday: "thank you, because your being brave, i no longer feel afraid to say what i really feel."

The video opens with a November 22, 1963, radio broadcast describing Kennedy's motorcade turning onto Elm Street seconds before fatal shots were fired.

In the video, Badu is behind the wheel of a 1965 Lincoln Continental, parked along Kennedy's route. A single camera focuses on her as she walks toward Elm Street and the book depository where Kennedy's assassin fired his rifle.

Badu tweeted that "i was petrified while shooting this video ... but liberation began to set in. i conquered many fears in that few moments."

She said she was "too busy lookin for cops" to be embarrassed by her nudity. "i been naked all along in my words actions and deeds. thats the real vulnerable place," she tweeted.

The video does not include shouts from people off camera, she said. "they were yelling, 'THIS IS A PUBLIC PLACE : YOU OUGHTA BE ASHAMED : PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON : DAMN GIRL! etc," Badu tweeted.

More than a dozen people stood along the plaza's "grassy knoll" when Badu took off the last piece of clothing.

"the people caught in the shot were trying hard to ignore me," she tweeted.

As she reached the spot where Kennedy was first struck by a bullet, the crackle of a gunshot is heard and Badu's head snaps back and she falls to the ground as if dead.

Badu said when the camera stopped "we ran."

The singer was born in Dallas, where she is raising her three children -- ages 1, 5 and 12

She tweeted to fans about her 5-year-old daughter's response when told of her plans for the video: "she looked at me with a blank face and replied ok mama can i have another pudding?"

The video was released days before the singer's next album, "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh," hits record stores. The single "Window Seat" is at No. 28 on Billboard's R&B/hip-hop chart.


Badu Defends Nudity In Video Made By JFK Site

12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By DAVID FLICK and HUNTER HAUK / The Dallas Morning News
/ The Dallas Morning News
Mario Tarradell contributed to this report.

Erykah Badu appears naked in her new music video, but what people are talking about is the background scenery.

In the five-and-a-half-minute video – which instantly went viral Monday on YouTube – the Dallas-born entertainer strips down with Dealey Plaza as a backdrop.

At the edited-in sound of a rifle shot, she falls to the ground with a jerk, within feet of where President John F. Kennedy was shot.

"I don't understand how someone who lives here, who is a resident of this city, could do such a thing," said Lindalyn Adams, a longtime civic volunteer who is credited with rescuing Dealey Plaza from neglect and exploitation in the 1980s.

John Crawford, president of the nonprofit Downtown Dallas, added: "It's in poor taste and poor judgment, in my opinion."

Badu said in an interview Monday that the video for "Window Seat" was a "protest" and "about liberating yourself."

She said she chose Dealey Plaza as the backdrop because "the grassy knoll was the most monumental place in Dallas," and she compared the criticism she expected to receive to Kennedy's murder.

"I tied it in a way that compared tha 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."

Not everyone expressed outrage.

"This simply is a trivial issue that comes at a time when the city is facing so many more important issues," said Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt, whose district includes Dealey Plaza.
A few noticed that the publicity conveniently coincided with the release of Badu's new album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, on which the song appears.

Music critics note that Badu thrives on artistic and personal individualism. The 39-year-old singer has a history of making concept R&B albums that freely express her political, societal, philosophical and emotional thoughts.

Officials at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza issued a two-sentence statement saying that it had no involvement with the video and had no comment.

An official statement by the city of Dallas, however, noted that the video had been filmed without proper permits, and a spokeswoman for the Police Department said that Badu could have been arrested for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor.

She wasn't charged – and almost certainly won't be, said Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther.
For one thing, no witness on what appeared to be an unusually crowded Dealey Plaza has come forward to complain, she said.

And because it is possible through filmmaking technique to fake a background, there is no proof the video was actually filmed in Dallas, Crowther said.

For those reasons, some have questioned whether the background was shot separately and Badu's disrobing filmed in a studio and then superimposed. But the singer said there was no trickery involved.

The video was shot in one take about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 13, she said. She had walked through the plaza the previous day to set up the shot and arranged for the videographer to meet her on Houston Street.

"It was straight guerrilla cam. ... I told the cameraman that I would meet him there and when he saw me pull up, he started," she recalled.

She described herself as "petrified" and fearful of arrest.
But she said many of the people around her seemed not to notice.

Crowther said that had a complaint been filed, the charges may have been even more serious because the video shows children in the background.
Badu said she has no regrets about making the video.

Asked about the presence of minors, Badu said that when she saw them, "I tried to telepathically communicate my good intent to them. That's all I could do, and I hoped they wouldn't be traumatized."

Staff writer Mario Tarradell contributed to this report.;

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