Is Erykah Badu Doing Damage Control After Flaming Lips Controversy?

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The buzz over Erykah Badu's Flaming Lips collaboration began as viewers watched the music video for the re-imagined Roberta Flack classic "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." At first, people were talking because they thought they'd seen Erykah Badu naked…again. Upon realizing that the doppelganger in the video was her sister Nayrok (and listening to the edgy interpretation of the original) it became apparent that a statement was being made. Enter the stage, controversy. In short, fans became outraged that the singer would participate in such a provocative project. And it seemed that shortly after the public outcry, Badu claimed she and her sister were "disrespected" by the release of the unauthorized video by Lips frontman/video director Wayne Coyne. But is the songstress really as livid as she seems?

A publicity stunt?

Fans of Erykah may be scratching their heads, but this isn't her first attention-grabbing antic. She certainly caught the public's eye (and that of the police) by strutting around Dallas, Texas in the buff for her single, "Window Seat." Despite protests over the video's content, some could say that her "plan" worked like a charm.

But that was 2010. And if she were attempting to remain relevant, relying on sexual images would certainly be the way to go. Now according to reports, the "Mama's Gun" singer isn't too thrilled about the 'unauthorized' release of this experimental music video. And in this instance, the eccentric star claims that Coyne took creative license in a way she was originally uncomfortable with. As such, she's told the Flaming Lips leader singer to kiss her glittery you-know-what.

What was the point of the video? (And other questions...)

But should one be so quick to believe Badu's extensive rant? After all, she's known for presenting her ideas in unconventional ways. And if fans are to think that she refused to strip down for the messy shots (instead employing her sister's voluptuous figure), then why would she continue to work with Coyne after so many reservations? Assuming that Coyne's ultimate (apparently unauthorized) version was tasteless, fans can't help but wonder what Erykah's vision was for the project. Her tirade doesn't exactly address these details. Perhaps if people understood the intent, the response (from either party) wouldn't have been so jolting.

Flaming Lips' Song Interpretation

What we probably should be asking is whether we would be drawn to the single if this new video did not exist. Roberta Flack's incredibly tender version has become a fixture in mainstream pop culture. The Flaming Lips' attempts to refashion it seem to be a less significant issue in light of all those body parts being flung across the screen. The stark, ambient sound of the revised version could be criticized as much as the video. Badu herself, criticized how her vocals were released. But for now, we're only focused on this director's vision. Creative differences are par for the course in the world of entertainment. What often dictates the harmony between two artists is their ultimate objective in creating the art. In this case, it looks like the objective became a little too subjective.

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