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Political Nudeness: Erykah Badu’s Window Seat

Imagine walking in downtown Chicago or on any main avenue in a well-populated city. A black women (that is not noticed on an average day) is walking down that street and she takes her shoes off directly in front of you, and tosses them to the side. Now you, the curious onlooker might think that this action was odd. But would this make you truly notice this women’s existence? Would her presence be solidified in your mind due to this small detachment of clothing. Probably not. You would most likely dismiss the women for just being another weird person walking the streets of your city. Until you notice about 15 steps later and the time it takes to travel from the front door to a kitchen window in the projects that are now being gentrified, the women once again gives up an article of clothing. This time, it’s her sweatshirt. She takes it off and drops it like she is releasing the weight of oppression off of her life. You still decide to ignore the lady, thinking maybe she is just warm, homeless, and the sweatshirt wasn’t hers in the first place. In your mind she is now solidified as a person, but you make her the perpetrator. She becomes the feigning crack-head that is irresponsible and on another high, you make her the lazy welfare queen that is deciding to leave her children, you marginalize her. You keep watching because now you view her as a threat.

The lady continues to walk, she liberates her shirt, her pants,  her bra, her underwear. To you, she is naked and now the product of public indecency, for all to see. Children, Adults, Young, Old, Rich Poor…this women is nude, she dies. She dies alone, bare, and nude in the middle of a busy sidewalk. You do nothing.

Erykah Badu’s music video entitled Window Seat was an emblem of art to me. Art representing empowerment. Art epitomizes all those who are ignored in the world. Art symbolizing the oppressed. I do not wish to intellectualize my emotions and my feelings when viewing Badu’s new video. In college many deem it necessary to annotate instances in life to create validations for those perspective things. But for this, I need no validation. There is no “work cited” page for art.

“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, event, or circumstance can move one to change. To love herself, to evolve.”

This is the poem (by Erykah Badu) that completes the art that touches the lives of poets, thinkers, and strugglers everywhere.

The moral of the story, (my moral): We must continue to fight for our own personal evolution. Accept the struggle, accept the consequences of that struggle, but always remember the goal is to evolve and make tomorrow better for those who have yet to come. The goal is to make sure the lives of those who came yesterday are not tainted. This is my political nudeness, to make myself vulnerable to those in need. No greater love than this.


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