Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Lists, Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

7 things i’ve thought about erykah badu and her “window seat” video

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.

3. while beyonce usually serves as black america’s patron paragon of paradoxy, noone’s art paints a more seemingly contrasting picture between their persona and the actual person than erykah badu.

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

—the champ

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • knightnick

    I cosign number 5.

    She went from currently irrelevant to the hottest thing out in a matter of 5 minutes. I know guys are going to buy her album simply because of this video.

    sidenote: what if she releases an uncensored version?

    • Officer Ricky

      @knightnick,

      Broad is still as irrelevant as me knowing the color of your socks. Give her a week or 2. Gone with the wind.

      She got an ass tho’! SHET!

    • Officer Ricky

      @knightnick,

      Broad is still as irrelevant as me knowing the color of your socks. Give her a week or 2. Gone with the wind.

      She got an ass tho’! SHET!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @knightnick,

      sidenote: what if she releases an uncensored version?

      you know, this is one of those times when seeing “everything” would actually make things less alluring. some things dont need to be any more “uncut”

      • T.

        @The Champ,

        essentially what you’ve said is that Badu is the female equivalent to Prince (you can’t look her directly in the eye).

        or, that creature from the Golden Child behind the curtains.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @T.,

          basically. she makes the cut, as well as nicole kidman (she’s scary to me) and jim jones

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @T.,

          basically. she makes the cut, as well as nicole kidman (she’s scary to me) and jim jones

      • T.

        @The Champ,

        essentially what you’ve said is that Badu is the female equivalent to Prince (you can’t look her directly in the eye).

        or, that creature from the Golden Child behind the curtains.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @knightnick,

      sidenote: what if she releases an uncensored version?

      you know, this is one of those times when seeing “everything” would actually make things less alluring. some things dont need to be any more “uncut”

    • http://rainbowlens.wordpress.com Gem…from Houston

      @knightnick, Apparently people in Canada and other places got the uncensored version.

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @Gem…from Houston,

        Hmm, so there is one. It makes sense Canada and other less pantiesinabunch countries get an uncensored version.

        I would seriously like to meet anyone who saw this happen in real time or who was actually in the video. lol

        • Sula

          @Cheekie,

          other less pantiesinabunch countries

          Classic! I am stealing. Thanxmuch. :)

        • Sula

          @Cheekie,

          other less pantiesinabunch countries

          Classic! I am stealing. Thanxmuch. :)

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

          @Sula,

          LOL, no problem. It’s funny because it’s true.

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

          @Sula,

          LOL, no problem. It’s funny because it’s true.

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @Gem…from Houston,

        Hmm, so there is one. It makes sense Canada and other less pantiesinabunch countries get an uncensored version.

        I would seriously like to meet anyone who saw this happen in real time or who was actually in the video. lol

    • http://rainbowlens.wordpress.com Gem…from Houston

      @knightnick, Apparently people in Canada and other places got the uncensored version.

    • JessKnowsBest

      @knightnick,

      her tummy is still amazingly flat given her booty and fittyleven kids.

    • JessKnowsBest

      @knightnick,

      her tummy is still amazingly flat given her booty and fittyleven kids.

  • knightnick

    I cosign number 5.

    She went from currently irrelevant to the hottest thing out in a matter of 5 minutes. I know guys are going to buy her album simply because of this video.

    sidenote: what if she releases an uncensored version?

  • Ms. Smart

    According to a bew report I saw, those weren’t extras, she had no permits to shoot, and the city is considering charging/fining her.

    • Ms. Smart

      @Ms. Smart, bew=news…typing on iPod

    • Ms. Smart

      @Ms. Smart, bew=news…typing on iPod

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Ms. Smart,

      According to a bew report I saw, those weren’t extras, she had no permits to shoot, and the city is considering charging/fining her

      i know. thats why i put “extras” in quotations.

      *or, at least i had extras in quotations before liz edited out. smh.*

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @The Champ, wtf? I didn’t take no quotes off “extras.” I did take them off 808s and heartbreaks because you don’t quote and italicize album names. Don’t make me go down my list of stuff I fixed that did NOT include extras! extras deez.

        • charli skipper

          @Liz,

          yaaaaaaassss! i really identified with this comment for some reason.lol

        • charli skipper

          @Liz,

          yaaaaaaassss! i really identified with this comment for some reason.lol

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Liz,

          go down your list of deez

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Liz,

          go down your list of deez

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @The Champ, wtf? I didn’t take no quotes off “extras.” I did take them off 808s and heartbreaks because you don’t quote and italicize album names. Don’t make me go down my list of stuff I fixed that did NOT include extras! extras deez.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Ms. Smart,

      According to a bew report I saw, those weren’t extras, she had no permits to shoot, and the city is considering charging/fining her

      i know. thats why i put “extras” in quotations.

      *or, at least i had extras in quotations before liz edited out. smh.*

  • Ms. Smart

    According to a bew report I saw, those weren’t extras, she had no permits to shoot, and the city is considering charging/fining her.

  • http://bourgieinterrupted.com Kia, JD

    Yes to your top two Badu moments. This could be a post in and of itself.
    I appreciate EB more for her so-called contradictions. It makes me think of *gasp* a real person. From jump Ms. Wright has refused to let us put her in a box – not the neo-soul box, not the head-wrapped earth mother box, not the rapper baby momma box, nope. While she may hop from island to island she never gets comfy in any one spot long enough to be pigeon holed. I LOVE that.
    I said on FB earlier that EB is my spirit guide. So long as her music is speaking to me and she’s being that crazy, spiritual, homie/lover/friend I’m down.
    Oh, those in the know been peeped EB’s um, figure. While she doesn’t have to flaunt it all the time, who the hell is gonna tell a grown ass woman with three kids that she gotta cover up forever? Not me, not when she looks like that!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Kia, JD,

      who the hell is gonna tell a grown ass woman with three kids that she gotta cover up forever?

      her kids maybe? “mommy, put a bra on” seems like it would work

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Kia, JD,

      who the hell is gonna tell a grown ass woman with three kids that she gotta cover up forever?

      her kids maybe? “mommy, put a bra on” seems like it would work

    • Sula

      @Kia, JD,

      I appreciate EB more for her so-called contradictions. It makes me think of *gasp* a real person.

      Exactly. When I go down the list of artists I truly heart, I realize that I like the ones that are human! The ones with quote -flaws-unquote… who also embrace their humanity and flaws. Those vulnerable artists make my heart flinch and talk to me through their music. And that is why EB and LH et al are some of my favorite-est performers ever…

      I guess (if I want to be deep now that I am a year older, ha!) I seek humanity in my fellow humans… Color head-wrapper extraordinaire… Although I prefer the term free-thinking flower child…He he he. :)

    • Sula

      @Kia, JD,

      I appreciate EB more for her so-called contradictions. It makes me think of *gasp* a real person.

      Exactly. When I go down the list of artists I truly heart, I realize that I like the ones that are human! The ones with quote -flaws-unquote… who also embrace their humanity and flaws. Those vulnerable artists make my heart flinch and talk to me through their music. And that is why EB and LH et al are some of my favorite-est performers ever…

      I guess (if I want to be deep now that I am a year older, ha!) I seek humanity in my fellow humans… Color head-wrapper extraordinaire… Although I prefer the term free-thinking flower child…He he he. :)

  • http://bourgieinterrupted.com Kia, JD

    Yes to your top two Badu moments. This could be a post in and of itself.
    I appreciate EB more for her so-called contradictions. It makes me think of *gasp* a real person. From jump Ms. Wright has refused to let us put her in a box – not the neo-soul box, not the head-wrapped earth mother box, not the rapper baby momma box, nope. While she may hop from island to island she never gets comfy in any one spot long enough to be pigeon holed. I LOVE that.
    I said on FB earlier that EB is my spirit guide. So long as her music is speaking to me and she’s being that crazy, spiritual, homie/lover/friend I’m down.
    Oh, those in the know been peeped EB’s um, figure. While she doesn’t have to flaunt it all the time, who the hell is gonna tell a grown ass woman with three kids that she gotta cover up forever? Not me, not when she looks like that!

  • Gem of the Ocean

    flat lined @ ” i single-handedly made a jersey-rocking rapper from atlanta start dressing like a drag-queen mannequin at an H&M fashion show”

    regained life long enough to wave a hand in agreeance @ “the headwrap gets you a pass.

    but then died @ “in fact, when this all gets sorted out, erykah badu’s ass and i should probably get an apartment together.”

    wowers!!!! this post was ridiculously hilarious while simultaneously completely ON POINT!!! i cant believe it but i had almost exactly the same 5 reactions to this video. except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself. im not getting any younger, a 3-baby booty may be just what i need to snag “the one”

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself

      if you do that, you should definitely bring it to the next game night

      • Gem of the Ocean

        @The Champ,

        done. done. and done.

      • Gem of the Ocean

        @The Champ,

        done. done. and done.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself

      if you do that, you should definitely bring it to the next game night

    • Beremore

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      “wowers!!!! this post was ridiculously hilarious while simultaneously completely ON POINT!!! i cant believe it but i had almost exactly the same 5 reactions to this video. except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself…”

      CO-SIIIIIIIGGGGGGGNNNNN! This said it all…

      Champ….good sh*t :) oh and extra co-sign on the #2 footnote, that block party performance is HARD!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @Beremore,

        Champ….good sh*t :) oh and extra co-sign on the #2 footnote, that block party performance is HARD!

        i wonder where the block party concert ranks on the list of “live performances people would give their first-born’s first shoes to see”? it’s definitely top five for me

        • Beremore

          @The Champ,

          “live performances people would give their first-born’s first shoes to see”<— LOL exactly!!

          For sure top 5, that concert was Classic!

        • Beremore

          @The Champ,

          “live performances people would give their first-born’s first shoes to see”<— LOL exactly!!

          For sure top 5, that concert was Classic!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @Beremore,

        Champ….good sh*t :) oh and extra co-sign on the #2 footnote, that block party performance is HARD!

        i wonder where the block party concert ranks on the list of “live performances people would give their first-born’s first shoes to see”? it’s definitely top five for me

    • Beremore

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      “wowers!!!! this post was ridiculously hilarious while simultaneously completely ON POINT!!! i cant believe it but i had almost exactly the same 5 reactions to this video. except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself…”

      CO-SIIIIIIIGGGGGGGNNNNN! This said it all…

      Champ….good sh*t :) oh and extra co-sign on the #2 footnote, that block party performance is HARD!

    • Ivy St.

      @Gem of the Ocean,
      “i want to hijack it and keep it for myself…”
      I cosign. When I saw the video and saw the response of the man watching the video with me I thought, if I had an a$$ like that, I could say so long to grad schools because my bills would be PAID.

      Gem, if u do happen to hijack it, share. She has enough for all of us.

    • Ivy St.

      @Gem of the Ocean,
      “i want to hijack it and keep it for myself…”
      I cosign. When I saw the video and saw the response of the man watching the video with me I thought, if I had an a$$ like that, I could say so long to grad schools because my bills would be PAID.

      Gem, if u do happen to hijack it, share. She has enough for all of us.

    • OftenConfused

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself. im not getting any younger, a 3-baby booty may be just what i need to snag “the one”

      100% cosign I’d share though, I think that’s too much booty to handle

    • OftenConfused

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself. im not getting any younger, a 3-baby booty may be just what i need to snag “the one”

      100% cosign I’d share though, I think that’s too much booty to handle

    • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      ” i single-handedly made a jersey-rocking rapper from atlanta start dressing like a drag-queen mannequin at an H&M fashion show”

      Yeah, that killed me. But what killed me DEAD is that pic of Andre at the end. I had to stifle myself because I was reading this on a train full of Irish Catholics and they just wouldn’t understand.

    • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

      @Gem of the Ocean,

      ” i single-handedly made a jersey-rocking rapper from atlanta start dressing like a drag-queen mannequin at an H&M fashion show”

      Yeah, that killed me. But what killed me DEAD is that pic of Andre at the end. I had to stifle myself because I was reading this on a train full of Irish Catholics and they just wouldn’t understand.

  • Gem of the Ocean

    flat lined @ ” i single-handedly made a jersey-rocking rapper from atlanta start dressing like a drag-queen mannequin at an H&M fashion show”

    regained life long enough to wave a hand in agreeance @ “the headwrap gets you a pass.

    but then died @ “in fact, when this all gets sorted out, erykah badu’s ass and i should probably get an apartment together.”

    wowers!!!! this post was ridiculously hilarious while simultaneously completely ON POINT!!! i cant believe it but i had almost exactly the same 5 reactions to this video. except, i dont want to move in with e.badu’s ass–i want to hijack it and keep it for myself. im not getting any younger, a 3-baby booty may be just what i need to snag “the one”

  • jana.love

    i swear i love her and have the biggest girl crush on the chick.

    and i’m not gonna even front, i saw the vid and hit the gym, shawwty got a fatty.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @jana.love,

      and i’m not gonna even front, i saw the vid and hit the gym

      me too. but, by “hit” i meant “beat” and by “the gym” i meant “my meat”

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @The Champ, gross.

        • Gem of the Ocean

          @Liz,

          lmao yes, gross indeed.

        • Gem of the Ocean

          @Liz,

          lmao yes, gross indeed.

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @The Champ, gross.

      • charli skipper

        @The Champ,

        uh uh.

      • charli skipper

        @The Champ,

        uh uh.

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @The Champ,

        *does a couple of hail marys*

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @The Champ,

        *does a couple of hail marys*

      • Keisha Brown

        @The Champ,

        ewwww….tmi…
        lol.

      • Keisha Brown

        @The Champ,

        ewwww….tmi…
        lol.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @jana.love,

      and i’m not gonna even front, i saw the vid and hit the gym

      me too. but, by “hit” i meant “beat” and by “the gym” i meant “my meat”

    • Sula

      @jana.love,

      You and I are >< here…. I was breathing extra hard on my abdominals this week! Gotta get that tight, tight stomach!!!

    • Sula

      @jana.love,

      You and I are >< here…. I was breathing extra hard on my abdominals this week! Gotta get that tight, tight stomach!!!

    • StrawberryPoptarts

      @jana.love,

      honey, squats and lunges were on deck im-me-di-ate-ly. operation #windowseat… oh leh do it..!

    • StrawberryPoptarts

      @jana.love,

      honey, squats and lunges were on deck im-me-di-ate-ly. operation #windowseat… oh leh do it..!

  • jana.love

    i swear i love her and have the biggest girl crush on the chick.

    and i’m not gonna even front, i saw the vid and hit the gym, shawwty got a fatty.

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