UPDATE: New video link.
Erykah Baduâ€™s mystery is not just for the menfolk.I am intrigued by her as well. And like many straight men, I am intrigued with her bodyâ€™s â€œnew developments.â€ I think that she gives me hope that a donk is waiting for me on the other side of 30, but I digress.
So, of course I was curious when I clicked on a link for Baduâ€™s video for â€œWindow Seatâ€ and saw that there was a NWS (Not Work Safe) warning next to it. The video was a take on a series of videos by â€œMatt and Kim
,â€ and featured Badu on the streets of Dallas,Texas, taking off articles of clothing until she is completely nude.
I talked to my partner about this, saying that the video, combined with her recent spandex-ed performances was evidence of a new Badu, one who had traded in dashkis and head-wraps for leggings and Rick James wigs. Iâ€™m all for artistic evolution, but I also wondered if Badu was spraying patchouli on sex, selling it and calling it art. Â My beloved, always insightful, pointed out that when people get older, they have fewer hang-ups. The things that we are uptight about when we are younger cease to matter as much when we get older. In truth, it is one of the things that I look most forward to about getting older (in addition to having more pocket-meat to work with).
The naked black female body conjures up images of Â Hottentots and faceless, voiceless video rump-shakers. This doesnâ€™t change the fact that these bodies are still ours. One of my personal hang-ups is balancing the desire to be taken seriously as a human being with the very human need to be desired. I like the way I look, and I like knowing that other people find me attractive. Unfortunately, there are not many situations where attractive women are also seen as smart and capable. Women in leadership roles often have to de-emphasize their appearance to prevent being reduced to their parts.
Black people arenâ€™t the only ones with a double consciousness, as DuBois stated. Women have one as well. Being a woman is a wonderful thing, and I love all the things about being a feminine woman. I am also aware that I function in a society that is based on binary thinking. Men are strong, so women are weak. Men are aggressive, so women are passive. Thus, anything that highlights “woman-ness” is associated with these less positive stereotypes about womanhood. Even in the Bible, Eve, the mother of civilization is portrayed as wicked for â€œmakingâ€ Adam disobey God. Having stories like this in our collective subconscious makes us instantly judgmental of women who choose to display their bodies. My first reaction when I saw the video was, â€œErykahâ€™s is on some cougar stuff, big time.â€ What is a cougar, anyway? More than a mature woman who dates younger men, but a woman who is not constricted by the social messages that give all sexual appeal and power to younger women.
I hope that with time, I become less uptight about the restrictions that I put on myself, some of which are disguised by words like â€œmanners,â€ â€œdecorum,â€ or my favorite, â€œclass.â€ One of my most powerful recent discoveries is how many boundaries in my life are there because I put them there. Some of them were not even directly taught to me, they were just things that I picked up along my journey. Erykah Badu is one of the few black female figures in pop culture that constantly reminds me to think critically about my own hang-ups. I think that the key to eliminating these boundaries is time, reflection and a supportive community.
If that doesnâ€™t work, a little streaking never hurt anyone either.