Erykah Tried To Tell Y’all! A Black Woman’s Body

Erykah Badu
Image via Wikipedia

OK, it’s been a week since Erykah Badu’s video for “Window Seat” came out and scandalized many!  Ha!  I read a few blogs and from most of them there was love for her boldness in exposing herself.  For a few there was no love.  Some felt that she was simply pandering in order to sell records, and to be honest, that was my own first reaction before I watched the video again and listened to what she was actually saying at the end. 
So putting all that she was trying to convey aside,  how do we feel about exposing our bodies?  Is it wrong and nasty for a black woman to expose herself–especially in public? 

We must admit that most of us don’t have an appropriate opinion about our bodies.  We all think that there is something inherently wrong with us.  OK. I do.  Let me be real.  I never liked my shape because I was skinny all my life with a little bump of a butt.  I describe myself as being an inverted Q-Tip.  I truly hated my shape.  Whenever I passed by the stores with big window fronts, I looked at my reflection of my body shape and thought to myself, “damn!”  On the other hand, my first husband like my shape back then, and often told me so.  I guess I didn’t listen.  Now that I’m older, I have gained some weight and I like my figure a bit better now, but still I’m not completely happy with it. Now, I have that bagging sagging belly and not that hour glass brick house figure that they tell me is the best one for a black woman.  Now, I’m an inverted hour glass!  Damn again!  On the other hand, my second husband tells me he loves my body, all the time.  I guess I’m not listening! 

We know that there are many images of our naked bodies out there.  Images created by and for men.  It’s all for their own consumption.  The “video hos” as they are called, simply look beautiful, empty headed, and gyrate or “pop their booties” or whatever it’s called these days.  The women don’t have anything to say and that’s how the consumers like it.  Whenever we women complain about these images, we are told that those “video hos” are making M-O-N-E-Y!!! and that we ought to shut up about it.  Am I right?  So we do.   And we internalize the shame of our bodies even more.  We want to cover up our bodies, at least I do.  I don’t want my big butt to show through my clothes, so I dress in a way to hide it or tone it down–you know, the baggy shirt or the shirt that falls BELOW the buttline or the A-line shirt or dress.  You know what I’m saying!!   I’m hiding myself to keep unwanted eyes off me! 

Then here comes Erykah Badu, with her skinny self, (or so we thought) exposing herself like that, even having the nerve to come without her wig!  Exposing her stocking cap!! MY GOD!  And what’s more, she does this in public in her town, where JFK was assasinated!  Lord what kind of desecration is this?  I have to say when I first watched the video, my heart was pounding along with hers.  I was scared to watch but wanted to watch.  She looked scared to death and liberated at the same time.  Then I was watching the reactions to this naked black woman walking down the street.  The people tried their best NOT TO LOOK!
That was funny and ridiculous to me.   Especially the men who happened to be with their women!  We know that sex sells, but for some reason the people didn’t want to admit it, by not looking!  (I bet those same people couldn’t wait for the video so they could watch again, with eyes fully open!)

As for the brothers who watched the video, they got the chance to see a black woman’s beauty on her terms, not the video industry’s, and they enjoyed it!  Maybe for the brothers this was an expression of a beautiful nude, like what an artist would create.  My own son declares that the video was art!  Maybe the men enjoyed it because of the absence of nasty sexual innuendos and stupid gyrations.  They were pleasantly surprised by Erykah’s beautiful black woman’s body, that body they have tried to tell us was beautiful but that we refused to listen to them.  That natural body, with all it’s “imperfections” that our men have told us they love so much!  But we women have listened to the media instead of our men.  Even right now Erykah  describes herself as “having the upper body of a long-armed twelve year old boy”!  We don’t listen!

So for me, Erykah wrecked alot of preconceived notions.  A black woman’s body is art, if we say it is!  No matter who says it isn’t.  And a black woman’s body is hers and she has control over it. Not just in the reproduction and abortion rights arena, (and I don’t believe that abortion rights is true women’s power) but in the media, where it counts in this day and age.  It is in the media where we feel that we become powerless concerning our bodies–in all the videos that show us gyrating or popping stupidly, and getting paid to do it.  Harlotry. So for me, it’s in the media where we take control of how we depict ourselves and for whatever reasons we choose!  So if Erykah wants to talk about Groupthink, and make a naked statement about it, then I think she ought to.  If it costs her $500 in fines, then she simply pays.  If it costs her jail time, then she pays. 

So all in all, I am learning to view our black female bodies as art, if we want to present it that way.  We are beautiful, just as we are, despite being dark skinned or light or in-between, despite being short or tall, despite being big bootied, small bootied, flat chested, voluptuous, or whatever else.  Just as God made us, that is how we are beautiful, NO MATTER WHO SAYS ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY!!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Reggie says:

    I've always been fascinated and amazed about the whole feminine body image thing. My father used to always say that if a man looks at any woman long enough, he'll see something that he likes. That philosophy has never failed me.The very best thing about women of color is that you all come in so many different shades and so many different shapes…..all beautiful.When James Brown sang "It's a man's world", his words couldn't have been more on the money. It is a man's world and men have been dictating what is desirable for far too long. ALL women are beautiful (well almost all of you) and it's a shame that more women aren't comfortable with what they've been gifted with. I love some me and yet I realize that I am far from the ideal dynamic of what women find to be attractive. Our own perception of ourselves is far more important than what some fool somewhere working for a woman's magazine perceives to be beautiful.I've always thought that Erykah Badu was beautiful, but if I'm not mistaken she was Miss Grambling State University….so a lot of people must think she's beautiful.Maybe we should all stage a "go butt naked" day, because we're all beautiful, whether other people actually see it or not.Still…..I didn't think she needed to get naked for that video, but then again that's just my opinion.

  2. Anna Renee says:

    Reggie, thanks for you comment! One day we sisters will ALL appreciate what God has given us and what our men appreciate so much!

  3. Nicole says:

    I'm with you. When our men say we look beautiful or sexy we "don't listen." I remember when I used to be ashamed to let my husband see the stretch marks on my belly. Our first daughter gave me three across the belly button and the second daughter added about three more! He told me not to be ashamed because it reminds him of how I carried our "beautiful babies." I will never forget that as long as I live!

  4. Anna Renee says:

    I love it when our men tell us things like that! It so encourages us! So beautiful!

  5. Divalocity says:

    Hi Anna, thank you for telling the haters off and representing for your home girl Tameka. It's a shame so many people, especially the younger ones who have not be brought up to judge a individual based on their character instead judge them on the superficial. I'm also a woman who believes in speaking my mind and will also choose my battles wisely. The only thing Tameka did was to marry Usher Raymond and these lovelorn girls and women simply lost their minds because of it and she's been raked over the coals ever since. If it was not for her and other women who are giving back to our communities by giving these girls options and letting them see the world beyond their neighborhoods, then who? What she's doing is great and her organization has been doing this for a while in the Oakland area. Our lives will be just as diverse as we allow them to be and no man or woman can achieve anything in life unless they begin to expand their reach. You shook those haters off!!! And I deleted them accordingly!

  6. Anna Renee says:

    Hello Ms Diva! Just doing my duty. It's hard for me when we sisters are so angry and frustrated and jealous of each other! Then we start attacking each other on the superficial for real! We have to overcome all of this madness!Choosing battles wisely–I need to start doing that myself!! ;o)What was that she called me? Never heard that kinda language before!! LOL Anyway….keep doing what YOU do Divalocity!

  7. great post! can you believe i still haven't seen it yet??? between school & my blog, my nose is to the ground. thanks for your comments.

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