Wow… it’s been a minute since a video made think so kudos to E.B. and whoever else was involved with the concept.
Mainstream audiences pretty much checked outta Hotel Erykah about ten years ago after her big hit about wanting her man to use his “phone a friend” to help Badu’s former boo remove his belongings from her house—- “I think you betta call Tyro… you know how it goes.” Anyways, La ‘Du spent the last decade releasing albums that were musically too left for the rigid confines of R&B radio so while other ladies were struggling to stay relevant to teenagers by collaborating with Dem Franchise Boyz, Erykah was busy making music that was relevant to her… and everyone else was welcome to come along for the ride if you so dared.
I’m not sure if she has better management this time around or a bigger budget, but there seems to be more of an awareness of this new project, titled New Amerykah Part Two (Return Of The Ankh) and in stores now, than there has been for her work in a long time. The video for lead single “Window Seat” is as much a champion for “simplicity” as “Bad Romance” is for “over-the-top.” The clip, mimicking the dated look of the old Zapruder footage, opens with a radio broadcast suggesting that we are being transported back to that fateful afternoon in Dallas when JFK was assassinated. E. Bad then gradually begins disrobing while walking down the same street where Kennedy met his fate suggesting that this is gonna be the History Channel version of J. Lo’s “Love Don’t Cost A Thing” video.
However, more shocking than the ending is the revelation of Badu’s Badonk…adonk! Who knew momma was packin’ all that heat!?!? Yet, once the giddiness from seing someone naked literally dies down, a deeper message emerges. People are already giving her sh*t about the nudity suggesting that they ignored or didn’t get the voiceover at the end which specifically addresses the nearsighted and knee-jerk kinds of reactions being expressed. The “She naked! She a ho” sentiment on a few message boards inadvertently proves Erykah’s point (not to mention highlights Americans’ conflicted and Puritanical views on nudity) that we try to destroy what we don’t understand—- you can apply that to music, race, sexual orientation, foreign foods etc. and it still holds true for many.
While I don’t pretend to understand everything (was the lavender ‘n’ turquoise blood spelling something out?), I do appreciate the vid’s deceptively basic premise and the straightforward message that we’re left with to digest. Despite the grim “twist” in the video, I was happy to see a very much alive and smiling Erykah emerge at the end with a Peaches (hold the Herb) wig as proof that she is indeed evolving as her naked back alluded to throughout most of the video. Grade: A
Purchase a copy of New Amerykah Part Two (Return Of The Ankh) here.
UPDATE: Oh, and below is the video from the “Matt & Kim” that Erykah shouts out at the beginning of “Window Seat”. She acknowledges that she was “inspired” by them although it seems a bit more “I’mma jack yo’ idea.” However, I rather fancy (said with a bad british accent, of course) Badu’s take on the public disrobing idea more as I dig the message that goes along with the visuals.
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