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!!
- Do Black Women’s Features Look Better On White Women? (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- Black Male and Female Relational Fragmentation – Dr. Na’im Akbar (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- Are We Naturals Sabotaging The Beauty Of Our Hair Movement? (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- Which Way To Go – Picking Up and Moving In New Directions (nachalooman.wordpress.com)
- The Black Miracle – Dr. Na’im Akbar (nachalooman.wordpress.com)