UPDATE: On Friday, Erykah Badu was charged with disorderly conduct for removing her clothes in Dallas when filming her music video for "Window Seat," officials told the Associated Press. Witness Ida Espinosa, 32, made a sworn statement to police, prompting the misdemeanor with a $500 fine.
R&B singer Erykah Badu released her new album, New Amerykah,Part II: Return Of The Ankh, Tuesday. It is the follow up to her 2008record, New Amerykah Part I, World War 4.
Inspired by Matt & Kim's "Lessons Learned" video where thegroup undresses in Times Square, Badu disrobesas she walks down a busy street midday. The passersby aren't video extras, butreal life unassuming pedestrians who mainly ignore her, save for a man whopicks up some of her clothes, and a woman who stares at her while holding thehand of a toddler boy.
By the time Badu reaches the infamous grassy knoll where Kennedy was killed, she is completely nude. A gunshot is heard, her head cocks back, and herlimp body falls to the ground. The words "group think" bleed from her head inblue ink.
"Group think that's like a form of thinking that causes youto bury what you really feel inside to please the group so you won't beostracized by the group," Badu told the WallStreet Journal. "It's a comfort zone that we create for ourselves, and I gooutside of that comfort zone."
As Badu's body lies on the ground, she speaks in a narrativevoice to explain the message. "They play it safe. Are quick to assassinate whatthey do not understand," Badu says in the voiceover. "This is what we havebecome. Afraid to respect the individual."
The reaction online has mostly been positive. "Erykah baduconstantly causes one to question things...that's why she's amazing," RuthLovelycommented on Twitter.
One viewer, however, considers Badu's public nudityindecent. "Obscene? No. Indecent? Definitely." Fred Sands wrote on Badu's fan site Erykah-Badu.com."No permit to tape + 'straight guerilla cam' + no consideration of kids at atourist spot = extreme arrogance, ignorance and dishonoring the memory of abeloved President."
John Crawford, president of the nonprofit group Downtown Dallas, described the video as "in poor taste and in poor judgment," the Dallas Morning News reports.
After taping the video, Badu admitted feeling some anxiety."There were children there," Badu said via her Twitter page Fatbellybella. "I prayedthey wouldn't b traumatized." She did talk to her three children and their fathersbeforehand and received their support.
"'Window Seat' is a song about being liberated from I thinkmostly ourselves," Badu told the WallStreet Journal. "In the video I shed a lot of emotion, a lot of baggage byway of shedding clothing. I do this in the middle of a busy street which istotally probably something that is not accepted in society, thus the definitionof not conforming to what society would expect you to do."
(Badu discusses the "Window Seat" video in the below interview with the Wall Street Journal. Video discussion comes up at 4 minute mark.)