1. after making a few jump shots in a row, occasionally lebron james will race down court the next time he gets the ball and shoot an uncontested 35 to 40 footer with 20 seconds left on the shot clock (watch from 0:29 to 0:59 here for an example). for those not familiar with basketball, doing this is the equivalent of approaching your manager to ask for a raise and your own parking spot, receiving both, and then approaching him later that day to ask for a blow job.
in basketball terminology this is known as a “heat check“. basically, you’re doing something seemingly outrageous to test the limits of how far your “hot” streak will go. in lebron’s case, it’s also a way of saying “i’m lebron f*cking james. i’m better at playing basketball than anyone on earth and any other alternate dimensions were basketball might be played. i can do whatever the f*ck i want.”
this idea isn’t limited to basketball. from kanye’s 808’s and heartbreak and the ipad, to the entire career of ray j, pop culture is filled with popular artists heat-checking themselves, and erykah badu’s uber-controversial “window seat” vid is another example of that.
while many have lauded this as ultra-creative, paradigm shifting, envelope pushing, and iconoclastic, personally, i just think it’s her way of saying “i’m erykah f*cking badu. i have millions of die-hard fans, i single-handedly made a jersey-rocking rapper from atlanta start dressing like a drag-queen mannequin at an H&M fashion show, and i have a fat ass. i’m bored, i can do whatever the hell i want, and my fans will still love me. creative schmeative¹“
2. the overwhelmingly positive response (and condescension towards those who disagree) to this vid is more proof that, in the “cultured” corner of the black community, the headwrap gets you a pass.
mind you, i’m not passing judgment on the artistic merit of the video, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the general sentiment would be much less supportive if keri hilson or nicky minaj or ciara or anyone else not named erykah badu or india.arie or jill scott pulled a similar stunt.
it’s almost like someone blindfolded her and had her aim at a dartboard of cliches to live by, but she happened to accidentally hit all of the ones that contradict (“sleep with a bunch of rappers”. “make great and empowering music”. “be a role model to black women everywhere”. “have multiple baby daddies”. “have a big butt”. “dress like queen amidala”)
4. meta-commentary aside, i loved the video. it officially ranks as my third favorite badu moment ever²
i loved the zapruder feel to it. i loved the stunned “this isn’t really happening, is it?” faces on the oblivious extras (especially the guy at the 2:00 mark who starts picking up her clothes and chasing her down, then all of a sudden has a change of heart). i loved how the video relates just enough to the song to inspire conversation over whether or not it actually does. i even loved the eerily fatalistic feel to her words at the end. most of all, i loved, well…
5. when erykah badu’s ass talks, everyone listens. and dies. helen keller’s favorite color is erykah badu’s ass. erykah badu’s ass can slam a revolving door. erykah badu’s ass did in fact, build rome in a day
i want to buy erykah badu’s ass a chicken dinner and never call it again. we need it. hell, i need it. i’m a mess without it. i miss it so damn much. i miss being with it, i miss being near it. i miss its laugh. i miss its scent; i miss its musk. in fact, when this all gets sorted out, erykah badu’s ass and i should probably get an apartment together.
6. seriously though, erykah badu’s figure is what every black man in america has in mind when thinking about “the foundation”³. to expound, the reason why some men only consider thinner women as potential wife candidates is because they hope that after a decade and a couple kids, she’ll be built like badu instead of a post-office mailbox. she has, what my uncle would call, a perfect three baby booty.
7. lastly, this video has cemented her status as the one woman i’d be hesitant to actually look in the eye. wait, hesitant isn’t strong enough. she scares the f*ck out of me…
…but for good reason.
¹if ultra cynical, one could also interpret the video as badu saying “look. i have three kids, and i haven’t released a platinum album since the first season of the sopranos. i need to do something to stay relevant because, sh*t, ms badu gotta eat too“. i’m not ultra cynical, though. ²the other two? 1. the “but you can’t use my phone” at the end of her live version of “tyrone”, and the audience reaction to it. 2. the “can you top this” battle her and jill scott have while performing “you got me” at the dave chappelle block party ³word to humble one