Erykah Badu Window Seat (Video) Illegally Shot?

March 29, 2010
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Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video is causing a bit of a stir—not just for the birthday suit stroll it depicts, but because it was supposedly shot ‘guerilla style.’ See it here.

Erykah Badu

The singer says the idea behind the video was to draw attention to the concept of ‘groupthink.’ What better way to shine the spotlight on a philosophical notion than to saunter down a public street stark naked? It works every time.

In the video, Badu struts down the infamous route in Dallas that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy traveled the day of his assassination. As she walks, she strips off pieces of clothing one at a time. She can be seen working her way in between other pedestrians who are clearly shocked to see the ‘nekkid’ singer.

By the time she makes it to the ‘X’ that marks the location of the shooting, she is completely nude. Just as she reaches it, a gunshot rings out, and she collapses. Her lifeless body is then shown oozing blue blood, which spells out the word ‘groupthink.’

Aside from being a tad racy, Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video has also drawn fire from city officials, who say it was not legitimately produced. CBS News ran the following quote from city of Dallas spokesman:

“The production company that produced this video never contacted the City to seek the proper permits. This is known as “guerilla filming” where production companies circumvent the proper permitting procedures and usually shoot these scenes in one take knowing that if they are discovered they would face arrest and/or penalties.”

When asked about how it was shot, Badu admitted it was done in one take, and that people were yelling things at her as she walked. She maintains, however, that the shock value was intended to bring much needed attention to ‘groupthink.’

As of now, it’s hard to track down a copy of the video. When you search for it in Youtube you get a nice little message that it’s been removed due to a copyright violation. I’ve thrown in the only copy I could find. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Maybe she can film a video to bring attention to that problem.

Check out a clip related to Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video below.

Erykah BaduErykah BaduErykah BaduErykah BaduErykah Badu

Photos: Devorah

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7 Responses to “Erykah Badu Window Seat (Video) Illegally Shot?”

  1. 1
    Ted Clayton Says:

    Sometimes I think maybe I have some Ferengi in my family tree. Naked women? What could possibly be the problem?

    Traumatized the kids? “Look Mommy – there’s a naked lady!” “Don’t look at her! [panic rising]” So who’s screwing with the kid’s head the worst: Badu or Mommy?

    Ok, let’s cut to the chase here: Where’s the Groupthink?

    If Badu is going to stir something besides my prurient interest, she best be for laying down some breadcrumbs so we can get a clue were the ‘discussion’ is supposed to be comin’ from, and leadin’ to.

    Otherwise, it was just an unpermitted street-stunt … and I still haven’t seen the unpixelated version!

  2. 2
    Jamesey Says:

    The video isn’t hard to track down at all. Just go to Erykah Badu’s site and click the link on the front page.

  3. 3
    Ted Clayton Says:

    I saw the video – but I was complaining that the version I’ve seen and from which I see still-clips in articles, has Badu “pixelated” as she completes stripping. Have you seen a version where she isn’t being ‘blurred out’ at the end?

    Actually, the video is interesting, in the way it shows her anxiety as she walks along taking off & dropping clothes. Even before she gets to the ‘indecent’ stage.

    You can tell, from early on, that she and perhaps more pointedly, the person carrying the camera (who is always very conspicuous while filming this way – walking backwards, trying to stay in a certain relationship with the person they are filming).

    And typically, there must be several other persons ‘helping’ the camera-person, guiding them while they walk backwards with the camera, and potentially several others who walk a little ahead, ‘encouraging’ other folks who are there to move aside, get out of way, excuse us, we’re sorry, thank you very much.

    It is clear that people along the way are reacting – and often not at all positively – to the little ‘armada’ of media-operators accompanying Badu.

    After she is clearly partially nude, then she begins getting what is obviously painful feedback from those she is approaching & passing along the route. People are plainly getting irate with this woman and all her camera-people … who obviously do not have permission to be doing something like this.

    In the video, we see Badu flinching & winching and steeling herself to continue … in the face of strong public condemnation of what she was doing.

    Don’t be too surprised if home video taken by others who were visiting this site, which is after all something of a national shrine … and that this home video shows that Badu had several ‘goons’ who intimated the public and prevented them from approaching her and interfering with the shoot.

    Stand by. Badu could end up in a very unflattering piece of footage she hadn’t planned on.

  4. 4
    Dex Says:

    What don’t do you understand? The video clearly depicts a person following their own path, going against the rules, norms, and dictates of conventional society. In the end, this person is assasinated (as Kennedy was) for going against the status quo. The “groupthink” refers to the mentality that keeps us constrained in traditional roles and thought patterns and which is threatened by any thinking outside of this conventional stance. In the video, Ms. Badu is ultimately killed by “groupthink” because of her unconventional actions. The point of the video is further enhanced by the fact that it was shot “commando-style” and the people on the street are unknowing by-standers; therefore, you see their genuine negative reaction to her unconventional actions, as she has predicted. As she states at the end of the video, people fear what they don’t understand.

    Additionally, Ms. Badu states (not in these words) that one person having the courage to be an individual encourages others to do the same, hence the nude young lady with beaded hair at the very end of the video.

  5. 5
    Dex Says:

    I would also relate this video to the current tea-party movement and health-care debate in that you have a group of individuals acting collectively in extreme ways to protest changes that go against the status quo. Individually, their behavior would be completely unacceptable; however, they hide in groups and stir up a dangerous fury among themselves. The fact that the blood is blue rather than red (i.e. red and blue states, democrats vs. republicans) may be an homage to this.

  6. 6
    Ted Clayton Says:


    I tried several places to view the video again, so I can reply to you while checking details in the vid. But even on Erykah’s site, I did not find it. Got a fresh, working (checked) link? The whole thing?

    As I recall, the video starts with Erykah parking her car, getting out, and putting coins in the parking-meter. She is following “the rules, norms, and dictates of conventional society.” What could be more normal, expected, compliant & obedient, than feeding a parking meter?

    It would have been more suitably-symbolic, in the protest-sense, had Erykah walked around the front of her car, stepped around the parking-meter while giving it a look of dismissive disdain … then ignored it and continued on her way.

    Perhaps the parking-meter scene was intended to portray the “conventional” Erykah, who then “evolves” – as we later see painted on her back – and discards such conventionality, with her cloths playing proxy. That would make sense.

    After performing obeisance to the meter, she then walks down the sidewalk. And walks & walks, down the sidewalk. Video gets a little slow here, for awhile: is all this walking part of the message? I began wondering about all this long, slow walking on the sidewalk, during the first viewing.

    The first viewing is always the most important: it’s the first, and the lasting impression.

    Again, what is more conventional, more dreary-symbol conventional, than walking languidly, dreamily down a sidewalk? A sidewalk constructed by others, for you … and for all others, all doing the same. A straight and a smooth path, with lines clearly drawn along the sides. Stay inside the lines, Erykah; let others take care of you, Erykah; not too fast, not too slow, down the path prepared for … that’s a good girl, Erykah.

    And then she evolves. Ok … maybe we’re starting to see (at least part of) the same video here. Eh?

    And maybe I’m begining to see better, why it initially worked so unsatisfactorily for some, while others got excited.

    While looking for Window Seat, I heard one of Erykah’s songs playing on her site, and she was talking about the “pack”, and equating it (I think) with GroupThink.

    Firstly, humans are a “pack” or (in primate-lingo) “troupe” animal. Immutably. We have an inate small-group social structure. For humans to form up into packs is … something you will very hard-put to prevent, in the average Junior High School.

    Even us strong introverts & overly-independent sorts.

    And it’s not a trip that someone tricked them into; it’s not a GroupThink decadence that subverted their better potential.

    That humans form up into packs is not a malfunction or perversion.

    Now, GroupThink can be shown as a downer for the individual, and for those many things that individuality enriches the larger culture with.

    However, GroupThink and packs are not the same thing, and they are not synonymous.

    Sharper people avoid GroupThink … or, they partition it into limited aspects of themselves & their lives (yes, I’ll say that can be & is done, typically). But they do not need to divest themselves of pack-behavior, to both avoid GroupThink, and to be highly original, truly-productive individualistic individuals.

    Ok … I’m kinda throwing a bunch of my own thought in there, as if it was actually connected to Erykah’s video & thinking (of which I know even less than I do her video), and that may not be right.

    Bear in mind, my trip was never that Erykah was not artistic, or that there was no meaning in her work: rather, I have focused on the confusing way the symbols she uses, have been selected & packaged.

    I think it’s germane to this video, and the controversy around it, that Moses had to go up on the Mountain, TWICE. What was with that?

  7. 7
    Ted Clayton Says:


    I have to say in all candour that while watching Erykah stroll languidly up the sidewalk (first time I’d ever seen her), I was for-sure not affected by imagery of Sarah Palin or Tea Bags or elements of the Health Care Reform debate, floating into my mental field of vision, unbidden or otherwise.

    Again, I would not deny that Erykah may have intended to assert such connections, and certainly – as in your own case – that some folks would ‘grab the flag & run with it’ to wherever they want to go … whether in keeping with Erykah, or independent of her.

    While Tea Party members appear overwhelmingly to be opposed to the Health Care Bill, many who oppose it are not members of the Tea Party movement. There are lots of people – a sizeable component of the entire nation – who shake their head at the Health Care outcome … but will never be counted among those at a Tea Party rally.

    It is also the case, among both those who dangle tea-bags from their goofy-looking hats, and those who stand clear of the Movement, that President Obama and the Democrats are viewed as promoting Big Government, Big Brother … and Big Think.

    However, let me say this about that: there have been card-packing Commie-Pinkos who disguised their originality & independence only with marginal success, and there have been Libertarian stalwarts who I daresay never drew a breath, without first seeking approval of the GroupThink Board of Conciliation.

    GroupThink, I am confident, knows no political boundaries.