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City of Dallas Unhappy with Erykah Badu Video


by Stephen Becker 29 Mar 2010

If the whole point of a video is to draw a little attention to a new song or album, then mission accomplished for Erykah Badu. The Dallas native released the video for her new song, “Window Seat,” over the weekend, and let’s just say there are some in our area that are none too pleased. […]

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If the whole point of a video is to draw a little attention to a new song or album, then mission accomplished for Erykah Badu.

The Dallas native released the video for her new song, “Window Seat,” over the weekend, and let’s just say there are some in our area that are none too pleased. Badu didn’t get a permit to shoot the video, which was filmed near Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. Of course, she had her reasons for skipping the formalities – in the video she strips down completely as she nears the site of the Kennedy assassination before falling to the ground, as if she were shot. The video was filmed on a sunny afternoon in broad daylight, and there were plenty of people milling about the area – including children – who witnessed her exhibitionism.

Earlier in the day, the City of Dallas sent out this reply to the video:

All commercial film/video or photo shoot projects must be permitted through the City of Dallas Office of Special Events / Film Coordinators. The production company that produced this video never contacted the City to seek the proper permits. This is known as “guerilla filming” where production companies circumvent the proper permitting procedures and usually shoot these scenes in one take knowing that if they are discovered they would face arrest and/or penalties.

Dallasnews.com has more on the story; we’ll let you know if any legal action is taken.

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  • Ciro Faienza

    I have had the good luck to meet with very gracious responses from the Office of Special Events in the past when I’ve needed to do public filming, but I recognize that as luck. I think the attitude toward public filming is really the opposite that it should be when it comes to these miniature projects — the presumption of permission and no prior restraint, with penalties assessed only if the filming caused an actual problem and filming permits only required if the production is over a certain size. I have little sympathy for officials who complain about non-permitted filming that is in effect two people with a small camera taking a walk in a public space.

    Unfortunately, that sort of commentary is kind hampered by the fact that she violated public indecency laws, but I hardly think it’s a good excuse to pick on”guerilla filming.”

  • Jim

    Trash in, trash out!

  • Rawlins Gilliland

    Actually, a reality check from a big longtime fan of Erukah Badu. And a fan of bold creativity, my having been an artist & raised by two.

    What no one seems willing to say is that this may all have been all the things we salute as artists. But it was also incredibly selfish act since she did that in front of many families with children. Who, on top of everything else, were there to see the spot where a president was murdered. (Imagine, for instance, the reaction if a nameless man did that on the balcony of the Memphis motel where Martin Luther King was shot to death in front of children and mourners who see that as a sacred history turf.)

    These people who happened to be there were our guests in Dallas & more importantly, many were parents who should have some say in the matter when it comes to exposing their children to a total stranger woman disrobing and then being ‘shot’ and dying in the street in front of their kids.

    Would I have minded had I have been there? Absolutely not. Not for me personally. But I would have felt the issue far larger. That being a parental right to not be hijacked unwittingly. I once lived in a nude commune so it’s nada for me. But we should look at what we do in the context of others if we are to be honorable citizen participants, civil role models. Responsible artisans. Empathetic to alternative realities; vantage points.

    To make matters probably worse, the fact that Erukah Badu is a terrific talent & famous is the reason she’s being cut slack here. No one I know could do this & not end up in jail. Double standards are a fact of life, but I expected others to recognize how glaringly that premise is being applied here.

  • There were childrent present? She feins being shot down in the same place a US president was gunned down? Broad daylight, really? I have only one thing to say about Ms. Badu formerly known as Apples…shame, shame, shame! I only hope that Arts Magnet will also be taking this into an account. No one who conducts themselves in this manner should be spokesperson for “… a school for artists with a certain flair…” This was way too much flair and no gracefulness to speak of.

  • When the media looks a bit closer they will probably find that the area was roped off by the camera crew, and no children were allowed near the shooting area.