Musing on The Window Seat Video

by Guest Contributor Renina Jarmon (M.Dot), originally published at New Model Minority

Earlier today, I was on the phone with Bacon Grits, chit chatting, planning my outfit, my day, flirting, and he asked me I had seen the Window Seat video? I continued looking for my fuchsia leggings, turned it on, put him on speaker, and continued to chat. I sat down in front of the computer half way watching, listening, and then I noticed, “Erykah Badu is stripping?”

Then I tell him, wait, is she going to get naked?

He says, oh you haven’t seen it, wait until the end.

We both sat there quiet as I listened, and watched. Absorbed.

The Evolving tattoo? **Done.

The awesome lace undies. ***Fancy drawls #somuchwinblackgirlwin.

Keep in mind that I have been bumping Turn Me Away (Get MuNNy) for the last four days. The fact that she says “Let me be your robot girl” had me in the air, as I have been on some #blackgirlsarefromthefuture since I got reacquainted with Janie and Their Eyes Were Watching God in January.

The video struck me for a few reasons.

First, American culture in general and pop culture specifically has never been a hospitable place for nude Black women. Let alone nude Black women making high concept music and music videos.

When I saw the video, I tweeted:

“When was the last time you saw a Black womens body and sensuality centered FROM her perspective in Pop Culture? ***waits.”

“Real Spit. Window Seat is THE embodiment of Vulnerable y Fearless. Given the historical treatment of Black womens bodies in pop culture. +And American history. Window Seat feels like a lightweight Corrective for “Venus Hottentott” and thousands of nameless video vixens.”

The second reason that video hit me in my gut because some of my work is on Black Women’s sexuality and pop culture. THIS was the first time that I saw a self possessed Black women express her sensuality, within in pop culture.

Black women’s bodies are ALL through rap videos, but their voices are muted. Interchangeable, silent bodies are how American Black women are presented to the world, globally, in music videos, by and large.

Think about it like this. If you watch Beyonce’s Video Phone you may feel interested in the costumes and the dance moves. However, watching Window Seat you feel propelled forward. #blackgirlsarefromthefuture. Full stop. You sit there wanting to know what happens next. The distinction is the level of both intimacy and vulnerability that one performance has that the other lacks.

As I watched Erykah Badu, I thought of all the semi-nude and might as well be nude women in rap videos whose names we will never know, and if we don’t know their names, why should we care about them and who they are.

And don’t give me that “no one is putting a gun up to their head” to be in a video shit. People love saying that, but d-boys that sell crack “just need to feed they daughter.” Miss me with those. Our choices are limited to our options.

The third reason is that the video reminded me of Renee Cox’s work, in its fierceness, boundary pushing and its centering of a Black woman.

Renee Cox

As I wrote this piece, I remembered that Erykah Badu tweeted a week or so ago that she had done one of the most scariest things in her life. I noticed the tweet and kept it moving. I now wager that, that experience must of been this music video.

I thank her for this, because it is the ultimate in being both vulnerable y fearless, which many of you know are two principles, I try as hard as possible to live by, and that I encourage others to do as well.