Tuesday, April 6, 2010

imposing dichotomies

a week or so ago i posted a Video of Erykah Badu's single from her new album, Window Seat. theres a good number of people talking about the video, and how she stripped "bucket naked" and what not.
i was telling one of my coworkers how good the album was, when another coworker of mine commented on the video and basically said that Erykah is just trying to sell records by stripping and is no different from Beyonce right now. here's a blog that discussed it, and you'll see in the comments that others feel the same as my coworker.

now, i love Erykah. i pray to her right after i pray to Oprah. she, Oprah and Staceyann Chin are basically my trinity. oprah=god, Erykah=Jesus, Staceyann=holy spirit....although i sometimes interchange Staceyann with bell hooks and Kara Walker....and Frida Kahlo, and Salvador Dali, and elephants, and birds, and ....

ha. i definitely digress.
i think that people just need to be open to an artists freedom of expression. if she feels the need to strip (which, is a word that shouldn't really be used for this video because its saturated in negative connotations of strip clubs and prostitution, and so on...) in public, then lets look at the entire message of the video as opposed to those last 20 or so seconds that we actually see her naked. in addition, i think it says something about us when we cannot look at someone naked without thinking that it is something sexual. sometimes being naked is just being naked. its not always about trying to make it to the top of mens' "celebrity fuck list" (not that men have this....hmm...that i know of....but you understand what i mean...).

also, it seems like black women (or just women of color in general) are constantly having to fight the need for others as well as ourselves to put us into boxes; into dichotomies. if she's not an India Arie, she's a Beyonce (...."if she isn't the Erykah i've known and put into box A, then she has to be the Erykah i put into box B...."). India Arie/Beyonce....slut/virgin...jezabel/mammy-they're all the same and they're as old as America.
but she isn't (we aren't. no one is) this either/or. she is whoever she is, which is probably constantly changing in the same way it is for any of us that are constantly seeking EVOLUTION. this is the commentary at the end:
“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 within a circumstance can move one to change, to love our self, to EVOLVE.”

exactly. we are afraid, or rather too simple-minded to truly respect the individual.

maybe she is just trying to sell records. or maybe she's just evolving.
comment. respect. think. criticize.

also, just for clairty-i don't really pray to Oprah. i don't pray to anything or anyone. i stopped doing that a while ago.

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