Ryan Leslie Calls ‘Window Seat’ Video ‘A Very Serious Artistic Risk’


Vibe / March 31, 2010

The only music video that’s been sparking as much as discussion lately as Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” is perhaps Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat.” Since its release on Friday (March 26), the controversial clip—in which Badu appears nude on a crowded street—has ignited debates about art versus vulgarity and whether the singer is stripping down just to spur sales.

But fellow musician Ryan Leslie thinks the video is simply free expression.

“I’ve only met Erykah maybe twice in my life and I absolutely never got the vibe from her that she was looking to try to get attention,” Leslie told VIBE. “I’ve been an avid supporter and follower of hers since my college years when [Baduizm] came out. I really thought that she had something to say. Without having a discussion with her about the context, I would assume that she’s doing it from an artistic standpoint and there’s something very specific that she wants to express.”

In the past week, Badu has used Twitter (@fatbellybella) as an open forum. The singer Tweeted today that the video is about “character assassination due to mob mentality/ groupthink is the theme of the window seat video . The message is encoded.”

“I followed the Twitter feed and her saying that the naked God is our purist God and if you have a problem with nudity, etcetera,” said Leslie. “There’s overtones of indecent exposure and the legalities of it, but I would want to know from Erykah exactly when she saw the Matt and Kim video, what inspired her to attach this video to the ‘Window Seat’ song, you know? I’m curious.”

During an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park, Badu described that 2009 Matt and Kim video for “Lessons Learned” as “a contagious brave act” and “liberating.” Leslie added that Badu’s message about the destructiveness of “group think” at the end of “Window Seat” might not tell the full story.

“The message [brings] some insight to the video. I just felt like there’s a lot more. I know some people make that argument, ‘Oh, is it artistic or is it just some lewd publicity stunt?’ I think it’s artistic, and it’s very serious artistic risk. So when someone takes that type of artistic risk, I’m interested in the discussion.

“At the end of the day, it’s not their art, you know? They are consumers,” Leslie continued. “I’m sure there’s probably fifty other ways they could have filmed that video. They could’ve used better equipment, shadowed it, lighted it different, but I think what Erykah was trying to say was exactly how she wanted it to be done.” —Clover Hope

SEE ALSO: Is Badu’s ‘Window Seat’ Art Or Hype?

Erykah Badu Risked Jail Time To Film Window Seat

Erykah Badu Explains “Window Seat” On “106 & Park”