Erykah Badu also known as Sarah Bellum,also known as Medulla Oblongata, also known as Low Down Loretta Brown aka Analogue Girl in a Digital World. A spiritual Queen. Whose music has changed what many consider to be neo soul. Although in an interview, Ms. Badu stated that she doesn’t like to be catergorized, “they could have came up with a different name like neo funk”. When the average thinks of Erykah Badu we think of the “sistah” with the incense burning, wearing huge head wraps , burning sage, or mothers attempting to sing “you betta call Tyrone”. With a total of six albums, Badu’s melodies are all so pleasing to listen to. She creates art that will live on forever.
In attempting to write about Erykah Badu, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to focus on. Naturally I began listening to all of her albums, vibing, and then I began to watch interviews and live performances. Studying her. Ms. Badu carries so much peace and light mixed with freedom and authenticity, it’s compelling. During all of this, it dawned on me. Her single Window Seat and the video/message behind it, mixed with my own personal attempt to evolve as a young woman, as a human.Her single Window seat from the album:New Amerykah, Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh:
Which was released in 2010, has a video that carries a very important and inspirational message. It was groundbreaking. When speaking about the video in an interview on The Breakfast Club, Badu describes a scary yet liberating experience. Her focus behind the video was Group think. Group Think is a term that was coined by Irving Janis a sociologist and psychologist, in 1972. He suggested that people are afraid to go outside of their social setting, in fear of being assasinated or talked about, singled out, etc. Badu mentioned in the interview how sometimes nudity is used to put focus on your political agenda . In the video Erykah Badu walks down the street stripping off layers of clothing. Badu describes this as, with each layer of clothing, she was shedding a layer of fear, of education and miseducation, of religion or being programmed, being reduced to being a woman, being reduced to being Black. In the end when Badu was completely nude, and symbolically nude in her thinking, she was assassinated.
A poem and or statement at the end of the video:
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 herself
Imagining what it’s like to shed and evolve: stripping away layers of insecurities ,of fear, judgement, self doubt, hair, lipstick, all that I think I know.. could I handle it? Leaving you with a question, if you were to strip away layers symbolizing different things to you, how would you survive, would you be free?