Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Against the Norm - Erykah Badu & The Freedom of Artistic Expression

Once again, I'm back, giving you another comment I posted on a subject near and dear to my heart.....artistic expression.

Recently, a music video was released for Erykah Badu's latest single "Widow Seat". The video is a metaphor for relinquishing the constraints of conformity & the consequences for doing so. It's provocative in the fact that it also contains an instance of public nudity captured via a gurrilla filmmaking style. The link below is from a Yahoo! media blog that discusses the controversy surrounding Ms. Badu's latest effort. Many comments that were posted in response to the article were laced with indecency themselves, retorting to name calling, pleads for criminal charges to be filed, & threats of violence if said people "would have been there" while it was happening.
My own value for artistic expression combined with my personal views of the "groupthink phenomenon" predicated my response to much of what was being posted on the comment page. Below is the link to the article. The actual music video is embedded below as well.

~{The video image was truncated when published, double click the video pane to be sent to the original music video}~

Check it the some of the comments posted to the article....then return to "Soul Speak from Backbeats" to read my own response. It will give you a better frame of reference to understand my perspective as stated in words.

My comment was as follows...

"The comments on this article support the message Ms. Badu was conveying musically & visually in "Window Seat". The group think of what is obscene & the ostracization she is receiving for it is exactly the point. Individualism in thought isn't celebrated any longer, for many people hide behind a veil of political correctness rather than thinking, speaking, & acting for themselves.

What this article has left out & what most of y'all screaming bloody murder by calling for her arrest fail to realize is that this incident happened weeks complaints were made...& no charges were brought forth. I don't have kids, & I'm an artist myself, so perhaps my own perspective is biased, but what I do know is, the purpose of art is to inspire thought, emotion.....hopefully both. The clarity & execution of Ms. Badu's vision within this video is commendable. Granted, this same narrative could've been conveyed using visual effects, & honestly from the lack of reaction in the video, I thought it was.

I currently reside in Dallas, & many of my peers find it odd that there are so many visitors to the city who venture out to Dealey Plaza. Traffic in that area on weekends is regularly slowed due to the hordes of people taking group pictures, strolling about, staring @ the book depository window. If one wants to pay their respects to President Kennedy, they should do so @ his grave, not the scene of the crime. It's nothing for the city to be proud of, & as a native Texan I regret such a luminary figure met his demise in my home state.

This video is not disrespectful to Kennedy's memory. It just serves as a mere reminder of the inherent danger within going against the norm. Kennedy.....Lennon......King.....Romero.....Jesus Christ...sadly, the list goes on."

Well.....that's the way I see it. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from. I have to give mad props to Ms. Erykah Badu for continuing the efforts to expand the collective conscious of the masses by fostering a supportive environment for individual thought rather than mere "groupthink".

If you've gotten this far...thanks for reading!

I Wish You Peace, Love, & All That's Beautiful in this World (& the next)

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