Erykah Badu’s New Video, Upping the Ante on Modern Verite Art

Artwork from inside the album. Makes me want to start collecting vinyl again.

Ms Badu is an artist of the highest caliber. She has been at the forefront of the spiritual African American and World Music scene for over a decade now.

She has been trivialized in the mass media as some ‘far out stoner chick‘ for her views and her refusal to play the game, but in reality she is a gifted and unique artist with an enlightened socio-political critique of our modern landscape.

Her video for “Window Seat” proves she is one of the few artists who can and will take it to another level. She is in Dallas TX with obvious allusions to the JFK assassination, to what can happen to the individual who stands for something in this world.

Her message addresses those on both sides of the fence, we are all at once a perpetrator and victim of ‘group think.’ Her poem at the end of the video encapsulates this thesis.

Ms Badu is one of the few big artists out there willing to sacrifice for her art. She had to plead guilty to ‘public indecency’ charges for this crime. But was there a crime? Why is this important and non-violent social statement being punished as a crime? The charge may be trivial, and maybe she already shows up on a ‘no-fly list’ somewhere, but there is real social and financial burdens when you have a record, no matter if there is any real jail time.

Then to add insult to injury, the real perversion and violence that is pushed on our youth and our collective consciousness gets rewarded in the media and in our everyday milieu, with the excuse that “the youth demand it.” Yet when the youth take to the streets to agitate for peace and justice, to lift a voice of “NO!” to war, or to engage in civil disobedience for their cause, they are treated like criminals or even terrorists.

I believe these examples of the hypocrisy in our ‘mainstream media’ show us that the powerful corporate owned public media will use any excuse to make money off of the manipulation of art and artists to further their goals.

Their goal is to make money but at what cost? When the price is a distraught and confused population who are  in a constant state of fear and insecurity, then we have paid too much. When ethics fly out the door, when the ‘corporate media’ resort to sinister manipulation of the populace so they will be easier to control,  so they will be good and obedient consumers, then something has gone wrong.

How else to explain these and other examples of twisted logic?

Even scientists are in on the game, so called experts claim that kids support violence with their dollars, as if it was not obvious to all that violence for children is a last resort of other choices seemingly unattainable.

These days violence and the need to be able to at least withstand it is a necessary survival skill, and anyone would be foolish not to learn self-defense, but when violence pervades a culture, when young children grow up knowing only violence as resolution to conflict, we are in trouble. The infrastructure of our communities and social bonds will crumble under the weight of losing our shared visions and history.

We need to support Ms Badu and other artists who are willing to make deep and bold statements, who are still willing to stand for something other than ‘the almighty dollar.’

Artists like Ms Badu make bold statements not usually for themselves, but to push forward a dialogue. Ideas such as ‘Think for Yourself’ somehow always get twisted by theMSM to seem like an agenda, as if slogans like “Free Your Mind” have ideological leanings. Of course if you belong to the legion of ‘Non-believers in a Free Mind’ club  members, you might believe otherwise.

Her poem from the end of the video reads:

“They 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. A single person with inner circumstance can move one to change, to love herself, to evolve.”

Universal Music Group wont allow me to post it here but you can still see it on utube. I think the best place to go to view it is Erykah’s website, erykahbadu.com

Just click on the Ankh.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cindy kohn
    Aug 13, 2010 @ 23:40:10

    Thank you.

    Reply

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