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SoundTable Discussion: A Few Thoughts On Erykah Badu Vs. The Flaming Lips


Last Friday the music video for the remake of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by The Flaming Lips and Erykah Badu caused quite a stir and caught everyone out there -- including Ms. Badu herself who this week finally spoke up and out about the short film that has sparked many long debates and conversations about its disturbing and vulgar content. We've been talking amongst ourselves about this latest controversy and Erykah's claims of being hoodwinked and bamboozled for the past few days while following the war of tweets between her and the group's front man, Wayne Coyne. We thought that the story would come and go but with neither Erykah nor Wayne backing down this may turn out into the internet version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. And if these two have had a lot to say about this video situation, then you know we did. So pull up a chair, grab some snacks because you might be here for a while and join in on the conversation. 
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Butta: Hey fam, Badu is going HAM on Twitter and Facebook. She just posted an open letter to Wayne from The Flaming Lips. Go see!

Remi: Haven't read it yet, but we'll see how plausible her story is.

Butta: Well, from what I can piece together, old boy tried to get cute on Twitter after The Flaming Lips released their own statement and she responded to set the record straight. I am so glad that she finally did this. Maybe she's not as crazy as we may have thought? But I do think that she should have been proactive and said something sooner (since her name has been getting dragged since last week) and not as a reaction to his comments or their statement.

D-Money: I agree. But it seems she was trying to be proactive behind the scenes until he started showing his ass.

I'm rolling at "Nayrok says kiss her ass, too."

Butta: This is all very interesting, though, that she sends this letter now after letting that video cook for a few days and, from a glance at her timeline, seeming to be OK with it until now. She's been on a retweeting spree with the more positive comments about the video over the past few days.

SoulUK: OK, so I'm kinda torn on this.

On the one hand, I want to believe that Erykah didn't sign off on this sh-t and is genuinely horrified, but the fact that it took several days to address it, and the fact that she was retweeting positive comments and generally seemed OK with it at first, has me scratching my head a little.

She has obviously been receiving a little heat from fans and media (and maybe her label?), so I can't help but feel that this is a bit of a rescue mission for her reputation and image. That said, if she was genuinely in the dark, then I feel for her. I'm also glad she addressed the rough vocals used and has stated she doesn't approve of them. Badu has a great voice which is all but lost here.

Oh, and the bit about Nayrok being more liberal etc, etc...You would think that, given the fact they look so much alike and it was thought to be Badu in all scenes originally, Nayrok would have used a little judgement when it came to filming certain scenes. I'd like to be a fly on the wall during recent conversations between the two of them.

Remi: I'd love to hear from all the folks who swore up and down that they "got" the artistic message Erykah was going for with that video. I love a good rope-a-pretentious-dope. Still, much as I love Badu, this delayed denouncement really is about as suspect as Mary J. Blige later blaming Burger King for not telling her whassindanuchickenwraps.

Butta: So what do y'all think? Is Badu sincere or suspect?

D-Money: I'm willing to vote sincere on this one. Yes, if there was a problem, she should've voiced it sooner. But I highly doubt she would go off like this (and possibly burn that bridge) in order to save face. Also, the fact that Wayne released that statement before she wrote that tirade speaks to some behind the scenes skirmishes going on.

That being said, I do find the whole "I'm not willing to do that, but take my sister" angle a bit...questionable.

Remi: Agreed. Plus, the allusions to shooting green screen for post-production are consistent with what we saw.

However, I call total BS on Coyne's leak to Pitchfork being in any way an accidental leak of an "unedited" video. What we saw was clearly edited for a very specific effect. I hate bullsh-t my-bads.

Still, I'm still not sure I buy that Erykah wasn't around for Nayrok's shoot. Dunno why, but it all seems too convenient.

Butta: D-Money, I feel you. I'm sure that much has popped off behind the scenes before what we saw yesterday transpired. I bet that she was waiting on Wayne to release that statement before she went slap off. Welp, don't think they'll be working together again.

Still, the fact that she was gleefully retweeting positive comments and engaging Twitter followers who liked the video and thought that it was high art does make the side-eye go blink, blink, blink.

Damage control...gotta love it.

D-Money: Yeah, Butta, that was mad suspect. But as we all know, Ms. Badu does love her some attention.

I wanna know what exactly he told her that video would be like, though. I can't imagine any of what made the cut not raising several eyebrows when it was initially pitched.

Oh, and "KiSS my glittery ASS" has been added to my lexicon. Just a fair warning.

Butta: Speaking of glittery ass...So, wait, if it's Badu's glittery ass that Wayne is supposed to kiss, then was that Badu in the glitter scene and not Nayrok? I really don't want to watch this video again to get to the bottom of this, but what do y'all think?

D-Money: Haha, you said "get to the bottom." But you do raise a good point. Maybe she was just saying it for emphasis and didn't mean her ass literally? I doubt if she didn't do the liquids that she'd do the glitter.

Ivory: I call bullsh-t all up and down the walls. I find it hard to believe that anything that would include someone naked in a pool of "blood" could be later edited to make it "artistic." And I find her horse to be mighty high for someone who stripped naked in public with total disregard to the fact that children would be present. If, indeed, she is sincere, then my bullsh-t call still applies to Nayrok. She had no qualms about rolling around in everything in the entire kitchen cupboard, so I can't buy into the whole "you tricked me" excuse.

Remi: I'm sorry, but nudity doesn't scar children. The frenzied freakouts of adults faced with nudity around children does.

"Window Seat" has my full support, now and forever.

Ivory: Remi, no kiddies aren't scarred by nudity but as a parent (which i'm not, so just making assumptions) that should be the parents choice on at one point their kiddes get introduced to naked black ass. I mean, I know I can't control everything, but I should be able to trust that at a historic site, no one's stripping. I loved "Window Seat" and didn't mind the video at all, but if a parent can't pick and chose when and where their kids get exposed to certain things, then Badu can't pick and chose when she wants to be a stunt queen either. And this is from someone who is a fan.

D-Money: Being from Dallas, I'm just surprised that no police officers were nearby. In addition to the monument, there's literally a courthouse and a police department not even a block from where she was in that video (in fact, you can see the court in the background of the shot). That's why them filing charges after the fact had me rolling. Ol' incompetent ass DPD.

AudioDiva: Sigh...I really dislike Twitter rants, they are also immature at best.

Am I the only one who doesn't care about any of this? It's all petty to me.

I'm siding with Ivory. It's bullsh-tty from all sides. All these problems probably would've been avoided if there had been some communication going on. Okay, so what was the real concept behind the video? I mean, Badu was naked in a bathtub and Badu's naked ass sis is covered in goop...how can you make that any better, how can you play the "waah you took advantage of me" sob story? And the retweet stuff is incredibly suspect. Did Badu not look at the video before she retweeted all those tweets? Who blindly does that, especially when you're involved with the work in some kind of way? So she just assumed the video was to her liking? And she was only retweeting the positive tweets? Sounds like Badu doesn't have all her lightbulbs screwed in. Call me a cynic but I think this all wouldn't have happened if the video went over better instead of backfiring like it did. The video and the song sucked, and people called it out as they saw/heard it. Artists like Badu should never underestimate fans -- we aren't stupid.

I still walk in the valley of Badu and will defend every inch of the progressive nature of the "Window Seat" video, but she (and The Flaming Lips guys) can all have several seats. At the end of the day, she got paid and I didn't.

On a brighter note, "kiss my glittery ass" is going into my lexicon, too.

SoulUK: Further to my previous comment, the more I think about it the more I see this as saving face, pure and simple.

Badu is one of my favorite artists period, but there are just too many things that don't quite fit.

Ms. Krista: Erykah Badu Phone Taps Part 2.

Erykah calls Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips to drag him for filth about releasing this "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" video.

*RINNNNNNNNNNGGGGGG*


Wayne
: Hello


Erykah
: Namas-*bleeping*-te


Wayne
: Erykah I TOLD you...I WARNED you don't even start.


Erykah
: You said it was MOOD enhancing, Wayne, not MEMORY erasing!


Wayne
: *sings* "All my GLITTER BAG ladies...letitgo, letitgo, letitgoooooooooooooo..."


Erykah
: I ain't never had Green Lantern befo--


Wayne
: Green GOBLIN Erykah...its Absinthe, Green GOBLIN I kept telling you...DON'T MIX IT with ANYTHING...


Erykah
: Well see Azealia Banks had sent me this new variety of hydro to blaze before and...


Wayne
: And how is that my problem? Should hired her in the first place.


Erykah
: And do you know how hard it was to sucker *ahem* persuade Nayrok to do this? I had to promise to align her Chi the rest of the year for this.


Wayne
: Look, Subdural Hematoma, I called YOU first, then you wanted to get all sterile about sitting in water. Forgot you made us buy Fiji Water at Sam's for that too, didn't you?


Erykah
: I am the Creator's righteous teacher and...


Wayne
: Right can't sit in anything but Fiji Water but no problem falling out butt naked across a bunch of ant hills and gum wads in downtown Dallas. Works for me 8mm Girl in a Blu-Ray World.
Erykah: Look I will fly up there and put that compressor hose where the sun don't shine!


Wayne
: Hold on! THEN we had to take the cases of Liquid Smoke and power steering fluid BACK because your immature sister INSISTED on Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll icing and Hershey's Chocolate syrup instead, which put the shoot eight hours behind.


Erykah
: *I saluuuuuuuuuuuute youuuuu FAKE-a-khaaaaannnn* ...and I don't remember that either.


Wayne
: Well I guess not since you put BATH SALTS in the Fiji Water and drank it too after you SAT your ass in it...I guess you poot Unicorns too, huh?


Erykah
: Well one time when I was with Odd Future and...


Wayne
: Erykah look. We are THE FLAMING LIPS. We sell Gummy Fetuses on our website for $35! Who'd you think you were collabo-ing with, One Republic?


Erykah
: Huh? I thought you were dude who played guitar for Fleetwood Mac. I KNOW I saw Stevie Knicks whirling around in some witchy boots and scarves on set several times.

*BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ*


Erykah
: Hello? Lindsay? Mick? Stevie?

Butta: Ooh, now Badu and Wayne are going at each other on Twitter. And his wife even jumped in.

D-Money: The shaaaaade of it all! © Latrice Royale

SoulUK: *Grabs popcorn and pulls up Hootsuite*

Ms. Krista: Erykah bought tickets to the circus and got pissed because clowns showed up. She ain't dealing with Josh Groban here...come on, Erykah, this is not your first record. You didn't take care of business, period. Another old saying applies here: "do not expect what you do not inspect." I will hand you and your sis a window seat and a glowstick.

I think they need to go on Judge Mablean Ephraim. What y'all think?

AudioDiva: This is classless and stupid. These are adults and they are taking to Twitter to beef it out? Incredibly immature.

Badu is getting some princess points stripped from me for this -- no matter if she's in the right, she's handling this rather childishly.

D-Money: Honestly, I never saw any of this going the way it has.

Remi: See, I don't hold anyone to a superhuman standard, so I'm not terribly disappointed in E-Badu for this display. Plus, anyone who remembers her "How dare you disrespect my Queendom" tirade should know what she's capable of.

Ms. Krista: I've loved Erykah from day one. This however was flat-out irresponsible and unprofessional the way it was handled. Erykah is acting like she's some unsigned YouTube/Bandcamp artist approving/trusting a video treatment off mobile phone pics...seriously? If you and your label didn't have the time to devote to this project you shouldn't have agreed to it. And as one of my tweeps just tweeted, "those nude vids had to go somewhere."

Like I said, Did. Not. Take. Care. Of. Business. Call Puffy and Nas and ask them how "video renegging" worked out for them.

AudioDiva: Remi, I don't hold Badu or any celebrity to a superhuman standard, I like the way she thinks most of the time, and other times I take it with a grain of salt. I don't know what she's capable of because, well, I don't know her and people change on a dime. She's pissed no doubt, and I can understand that and if anything she should take legal action if a signed contract was involved. I just think the whole thing is classless.I agree with Ms. Krista, this is just unprofessional.

Remi: Great point. She really does need to just charge it to the game.

Butta: Yeah, this is the other side of the game for real.

D-Money: Yo, how did we miss old boy posting this pic with glitter on his lips?

Remi: Oh MAN! This sh-t is going nuclear.

This is why I'm against Twitter. Celebrities lose their mystique and show their asses (excuse the expression).

D-Money: I was actually having a convo about this the other day. Celebs being on Twitter is usually not a good thing, especially for their PR people.

AudioDiva: Agree so hard, Remi. I always say that I hate that the Internet has killed the secrets of us, but praise it for unearthing things we would be ignorant about. There are just some things I wish to not know about certain people, especially people I like, ya know?

Team Badu still.

Ivory: Wowzers! A true bonafide sh-t storm. Hilarious that he took it there though. I mean, if you're gonna ask him to kiss it, then welp, I suppose that's how it would look.

This is ugly from all sides, though. Twitter exposes celebs for what they are: human. I just hate when ANYBODY airs their dirty laundry out online, though. I think at this point they should just drop it, at least online. Nobody is clearly gonna back down and she is a 40-year-old mother of three kids who I'm sure has some babies to deliver somewhere. She's giving energy and attention to something that would have just died down on its own.

Butta: So we're over 24 hours into this war of tweets and they are STILL at it! He's tweeting, she's tweeting, they're retweeting every damn body.

Ivory: They are trying to draw twitter blood. He's definitely an asshat. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was low-key enjoying it, though, probably because I'm still not convinced she was caught off guard. Any publicity is good publicity I suppose. Nobody seems to be throwing in this towel anytime soon.

Butta: This is like a soap opera: The Rich and the Talking Reckless.

Ivory: This may be the Twitter war to end all Twitter wars.

AudioDiva: So I guess this means no more The Flaming Lips and Badu collabs? Oh how will I live?


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