Erykah Badu has never been one to shy away from statements-- personal, social or political--and she’s making a big one on all three fronts with her new video for “Window Seat,” from “New Amerykah, Part ll: Return of the Ankh.”
As the video opens, it would appear that Badu is headed to see an unnamed president, who is headed into town. She parks her car, and begins walking to destination unknown. As she strolls, she begins shedding her over coat, her hoodie. (Okay, a little side note here, MTV writes that she filmed the clip, which is a single shot, in Dallas on St. Patrick’s Day, at an intersection near where President Kennedy was assassinated. Also for your possible viewing pleasure, MTV conveniently compiled a number of other videos where the artist strips.)
This is another case where the video seemingly has nothing to do with the song's lyrics which, on the surface, are about love on the run. Badu is splitting town because she’s not getting what she needs from her man. Yet, even though she wants a “ticket outta town” and a window seat, what she really wants is for her lover to come back. “I need you to miss me,” she sings. “I need your attention, I need your energy.”
Badu continues strolling and stripping, as passersby take little heed. On her back, the word “evolving” is tattooed between her shoulder blades. The last half of the video is the key. We don’t want to give it all away here, but the music stops.. Badu speaks about how threatened society is by those who don’t conform, even if their non-conformist actions hurt no one. The last two minutes play out in silence but the message couldn’t be a clearer statement on society, oppression and, ultimately, martyrdom. It’s stirring and poignant in a way that few artists are these days. Badu recalls Marvin Gaye in that way: the message never supersedes the music, but they co-exist to serve each other.
The video opens thanking Matt & Kim because it is similar to the duo’s “Lessons Learned,” where they are nude as well.
Do you think "Window Seat" is a strong political statement or just an exploitive attention grabber?