Artistry or Idiocracy?

When you hear the name Erykah Badu mentioned these days, unfortunately, only one thing comes to mind…a strip tease. Despite her unique talent, her decision to strip naked in the heart of Dealey Plaza, located in Dallas, TX, while shooting her video “Window Seat” has even her most loyal fans struggling to distinguish her artistry from her idiocracy. Since her disrobing in late March, tabloids and media outlets everywhere have put in their 2-cents about the video. One could argue that she took her lyrics literally when she says, “I need your attention…I need someone to clap for me”, because she had no problem turning heads. However, no one was clapping. In fact, mothers with children were mortified!

To be fair, Neosoul and eclectic music artists are often misunderstood because they tend to portray their work in unorthodox ways; thus,  fans are intrigued by the mystic and passion of their work. Nevertheless, artists have a responsibility to be mindful of how their art might affect those around them. Erykah clearly states in the lyrics of the song, “I need your direction”. Well, here’s a little direction for future reference: Perhaps soliciting people who might have been willing to partake in such a video may have been more responsible than to impose your agenda on ignorant bystanders. Erykah also pleads, “somebody say come back, come back, baby”. Well, Erykah, I say to you, “come back…come back to Earth!” We love your music and we love your style, but fans would be very disappointed if you land yourself in jail one day because you can’t keep your clothes on. Fortunately, this act of nudity only resulted in a misdemeanor. Some argue that the misdemeanor was just a slap on the hand; the repercussions for her actions should have been more harsh. Others feel that the disapproval from her audience will hopefully be enough to prevent similar acts in the future.

Don’t get me wrong—we want our eclectic artists to be original and even edgy sometimes, but the last thing we need is a reputation for being disrespectful or irresponsible. In fact, independent and eclectic artists have a long history of portraying positive causes and messages through their music, promoting positivity and responsibility. Having said this, there’s no excuse–artists can be original and responsible too. So, was this art or idiocracy? You be the judge.

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