Chew on This! Erykah Badu & 3lw’s Kiely Williams are selling Shock Value – Who’s Buying??

Sex sells; we all know this. Whether it is Beyonce popping her hips in a tight leotard, Usher grabbing a dancer’s buttocks in his latest video or Lady Gaga prancing around in a thong and not much else; skin, sex, simulation of sex and lust is everywhere in today’s entertainment industry. Being an adult, I have no gripes with these artists promoting their sexuality; there is nothing wrong with it, in essence. And since music is a form of art and entertainment, I believe it is important for Artists to be able to express themselves fully. The thing is, this is 2010 and the music industry is not as it was. Contemporary artists in the 90s like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion were able to sell tens of millions of albums without playing the sex card; they were more known for their classic voices. In today’s industry, talent is not enough. Even seasoned artists are finding it necessary to stir the pot of controversy to stay relevant.  It is not just enough to have a hit record – it has been a while since we have heard a really good hit record! Artists are finding they have to build a buzz, expose their personal life or downright act a fool to sell a record!

Two weeks ago, R&B’s rebel Erykah Badu released the video for her new single Window Seat from her new album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh. Watch the video:

First off, I like the song! It is mellow, easy listening with meaningful lyrics. As for the video I can get past Erykah stripping nude; I could care less, she looks good. But when I heard she actually filmed the video in broad daylight, walking nekkid past tourists and their families at the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, I was shocked. I thought she had filmed the video in front of a green screen. My first thought was, this is in bad taste. Erykah not only used her body, she used the lack of sense and common decency and disguised her actions as ‘Art’. In my opinion, I did not see what message I was supposed to learn from her being ‘shot’ in the end as she lay butt nekkid on the pavement in front of a crowd of white people. Later, the Dallas police charged Erykah with disorderly conduct. Of the incident, Erykah remarked,

My point was grossly misunderstood all over America. J.F.K. is one of my heroes, one of the nation’s heroes. John F. Kennedy was a revolutionary; he was not afraid to butt heads with America, and I was not afraid to show America my butt-naked truth.

Ummmm ok.

Window Seat peaked at #95 on the Billboard 100 in the US, #26 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs and #50 on the charts in Japan. #WhenHoeSh*tGoesWrong

You can read a more thorough explanation of Window Seat’s message here.

Barely a week after Erykah’s fiasco died down, Kiely Williams, former member of 3lw (whose biggest hit included No More *Baby I”mma Do Right) and Disney’s Cheetah Girls (where she experienced much success) also released a controversial video. Titled Spectacular, the small-budgeted video features Kiely doing the walk of shame after a night of ‘spectacular’ sex where she slept with a man she met while intoxicated the night before.

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