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Emcee/singer/Poet/Blog Junky. I'm a freedom writer, Truth seeker, Truth speaker. A cheeky joker. hehehe I'm on a journey and documenting my experience...If You need to holla at me, Email me here: KarlNovaBookings@gmail.com

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Groupthink Part 1: My thoughts on Erykah Badu's "window seat" video. Just my thoughts........



By now you must’ve heard about or seen the Erykah Badu video for window seat, if you haven’t then you probably have been under a rock or something. When I 1st viewed it, I was quite surprised and knew it was going to be a problem. I wasn’t offended; in fact I was quite amused because I got the point, I read in a book “How to make friends and influence people” that to get your point across you have to sometimes “dramatise your ideas”

The video appealed to the non-conformist and anarchist in me. I know I am one that is into breaking boundaries and using art to convey a message. That's my thing.

Apart from the video trying to send a "message", it was a perfect promotional tool for her album which was dropping 3 days latter, in this day and age in the music world it seems your promotional game has to be stepped up a few notches in order to be noticed. Most rappers use women and their barely clad bodies to promote their videos and work and now Erykah is doing it too though not in the same way because she tied it with conveying an idea of her “stripping away outer layers to reveal her true self” and make you think about the concept of “groupthink” besides she was calling the shots. I don’t think the aim was to titillate folks or turn you on as much as provoke thought (and promote the alBUM oops I said BUM hehehehe just joking)

It’s not like she was the 1st to do something like this, folks are going on about how it was so “original” hehehe come on now LOL! She even mentions in the beginning of the video that it was “inspired by Matt and Kim” I think what made hers different was because she was a black lady and she tied the theme of J.F.K’s assassination into her execution of the whole “stripping in public” thing. (The car she pulled up in beginning is the same kind J.F.K was in when he got shot, the path she took when walking was the same one J.F.K took and where she fell as if shot was the same place J.F.K was shot, in fact X marks the spot in the video) She also tied the concept of “groupthink” into it too. (The blue blood that spills out of her spells “groupthink” check it on Wikipedia if you are familiar with that it is)

I find it quite amusing that even though you might get this message, the outcome of the exercise seems to be that due to hero-worship by Erykah Badu’s fans, they exhibit the same kind of groupthink too and I say this because if anyone questions the video and doesn’t seem to show total support towards it, they probably would be attacked with the same kind of groupthink/mob action that “assassinates” Erykah in her video.

I have questions for Erykah like “is stripping in public the best way you can show you’re evolving as a person?” or “is the freedom you seek within yourself from fear found in breaking societal norms of decency?” or “do you realise that as a celebrity, many of your fans exhibit hero worship more than critical thinking towards your work and are therefore just hoping on your bandwagon exhibiting groupthink?” or “do you realise making yourself the subject in your art and actual metaphor might come off as you being quite self-absorbed, attention seeking and martyr-like in a video tackling a topic like this?”

As much as I get the point, I don’t think the execution of Erykah stripping in public was the best way to go about it but then having said that maybe she wouldn’t have gotten people talking if she had done it in another way. People have gone on about how the kids who saw her on the street naked would be “traumatised” I think that’s over the top. How about all the violence they see as entertainment all the time? I know religious folk will react to this video negatively, especially very religious men because it will stir the lust in their loins and they don’t like feeling those urges or remembering that they still have them and have to deal with them.

So was it worth it? I guess it was worth the buzz and the discussion not to talk of the album promotion which will add to sales (if only I could get a CNN mention when I drop a project, maybe I should strip in London? Hmmm Oxford St maybe? LOL) but let’s face it, most will miss the point or not even care about it because the big booty is in the way. Hehehehe. I kid! I kid! Or do I?

I know this article may have a slight skeptical tone but I am one who appreciates Erykah's music. So please don't throw the word hater my way because I am a lover hehehe.

(This is just part one of my thoughts on this. Tomorrow, I am gonna blog about groupthink for real in a whole other way)

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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I watched the video. I was shocked when she started undressing. I cannot even lie about that. Why was i shocked? Inside me i was saying, please do not take your next piece of clothing off, please please. I was begging for her not take her clothes off, because apart of me was thinking, she cannot possibly be going down that road. She earned respect for her unique style and TALENT and one of the few fully clothed artists we still had. Don't get me wrong, i did not get the impression that she was selling sex at all, but i did not think it was artistic either. The track sounds so good that it helps to counteract and shadow the nakedness in a way. I have chosen to look at the nudity separately from the message. Because i respect her as an individual and a respected female. May be my respect for her partly stemed from her fashion.

martha

Karl Nova said...

Well how about the actual content of the video? the thought put into it being in Dallas, the J.F.K tie in, the groupthink idea as well as the bit at the end? (social commentary from Erykah) What did you make of those parts of the video? Did you even notice them? :)

Anonymous said...

The commentary was the one that brought the whole idea to life. I understand that, why do i still not feel better about watching the strip? I think for me it is because of the image i have for her that i hold and respect. The idea is great, she shattered my image of her, but i still respect her music and cleverness.

Martha

Anonymous said...

@Karl
Count me as one of those who didn't get the video.
I'm thinking it's the usual age gap at play here. You see I'm from the Natalie Cole, Teena Marie, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin era and well I think you feel where I'm going with this. These ladies to my recollection did not have to resort to the current extremes we see in the music industry (Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Madonna) to sell an album, they relied purely on their talent. Ms. Badu has talent so I am at a loss as to why she would take it there. The video left me scratching my head so as a parent, please tell me what I missed since you have indicated you understood the message she was trying to convey?
Signed,
Tee

Karl Nova said...

Peep my latest blog. It tries to explain the groupthink concept.

as you can see I do not endorse her execution of the message she was trying to send.

but hey that's just me..........

Anonymous said...

@Karl..

I pretty much understand the concept of group-think...Also my apologies if my previous comment implied you endorsed the video...that's wasn't my intent.
I'm just trying to figure out what (group-think)that has to do with the removal of clothing?????
Talent should and always will speak for itself..
Gimmicks are usually reserved for those who try to cover areas in which they are lacking. We see that a lot with singers who can't sing either at all or that well but may have only looks going for them, so they play up the physical parts of themselves.
I thank my lucky stars everyday, that my parents and I could share our collective admiration for artists like The Temptations, 4 Tops, The Supremes, Otis Redding, Luther Vandross, etc...because I didn't have to leave the room when those groups were on t.v. or if their music video was about to play for fear of a body part being exposed, same for lyrical content...it's a dang shame I can't say the same for myself and my children.
I long for the old days of Soul Music when the artists used their instrument (voice) to tell a story ...Visuals weren't necessary because the message came through loud and clear via the lyrics. James Brown didn't need to strip to convey that we should be proud, neither did Marvin Gaye when he made his statement about the war and economy. When Sam Cooke sang about a change coming, I can't imagine him feeling it necessary to take his clothes off for his audience to get that message about social injustice.
I'm just afraid the baton that was passed to this current generation of singers got dropped at some point...
But I digress...
Thanks for your reply and keep up the good work.

Signed
Tee

Anonymous said...

@Karl,

I get the concept of group-think...
And my apologies if I implied you endorsed the video, that was far from my intent.

I just don't see what taking ones clothing off has to do with group-think..

I long for the days when soul music was about the music...no gimmicks...just the music...no visuals, just the music.

I can't imagine James Brown needing to convey we should be proud by taking off his clothes, I can't imagine Sam Cooke either when he told us a change was coming or Marvin Gaye when he sang about the war and the economy.
I cherish the days when I and my parents could share admiration for singers, like The Temps, 4-Tops, Supremes, Luther Vandross, etc...You see when they were on television or their video was playing I didn't have to be ushered from the room for fear of a body part being exposed. It's a shame I can't experience that with my children.
But I digress.
Thanks for your reply and keep up the good work.
Sincerely,
Tee

Anonymous said...

Excuse the double post...
I got an error message on the first one, so I posted a second time...

Sorry.
Tee

Anonymous said...

@ Tee,

Thank you for that post. I was thinking about the male priviledge. I had to say it and i am not attacking any one for clarification purposes. Men can afford to not have the extra dramma because they are superior due to societal norms. Women are expected to do something out of the ordinary because of our inferior position, again due to societal norms, especially with our bodies.

Miss Baddu was defying the societal norms and succeeding solely based on her talent. Stripping naked seemed like she gave in and got defeated. She seems to be the one who fell for the 'group think'. We see alot of nudity, we have less nudity and what we need is less nudity and shining talent.

The music business must be one messed up place if her super talent can't shine without the dramma.

I like her and hope she will not be doing this to sell records in future. *fingers crossed*

Martha

Anonymous said...

Martha,

You are welcome

I take your points.

Which begs the question...who is responsible for what we're seeing? Are we "the buying Public" driving this "shock value" trend because we seem to support via record sales overly-sexual artists or are the artist themselves setting the tone?

Tee

Karl Nova said...

good points and questions

It's a hard one to answer, I don't think Erykah needed to do that to get attention for her new album or pass any message but I guess she watched the Matt and Kim video and thought her doing the same thing with the J.F.K twist would be a good idea.

I don't think so Erykah but then again her followers who have such hero-worship for her seem to love it hahahaha and it brought her so much buzz for her album

i wonder what kind of numbers she will do

Tee those days you spoke of with more simplicity are still here, there are still artists that don't resort to shock tactics to promote their work

although this is age of viral marketing, the digital era is here to stay

no turning back sadly

Anonymous said...

@ Tee,

I'll have to lay the blame on us the buying public. I scratch my head and wonder how it got out of hand.

Every time i walk into a music store, i am buying old artists, i even have Nina Simone who i never grew up to, which i find weird. It saddens me that all the talented artists are underground. I grew up to positive music, i was late catching up on this type of music due to the nature of my background. I wonder if cultural values have had something to do with this, the internet age, the cheap music downloads. I could never afford to buy music as a child, these days children have laptops at such a young age, mobiles. They download cheap uncensored music from the net.

I would not like to deny children music because i know what it meant to me to listen to music when i got the chance, granted it was not the corrupted music, but the publicised music these days, is in another league of it its own. It is sad. I feel sorry for the younger generation.

Martha

Anonymous said...

@ Karl Nova, the J.F.K stunt and limousine were a distraction in my opinion, from her nudity. It nearly worked, but not nearly enough. LOL!

martha

Anonymous said...

@All
Update: Ms. Badu has been charged. She's facing a misdemeanor.


@Martha.

Ditto. My feels are also the same about the younger generation. Bless their hearts, they are missing out on so much. I look back and even on the Hip/Hop tip it was miles better than whats dominating the airwaves now. I'll never forget listening to our first record by The Sugar Hill Gang, Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five, and Curtis Blow just to name a few.
To see where things are now, just oh well...

@Karl

Yes most definitely, those artists are still there. Chrisette Michelle, Tamia, Maxwell, Ledsi, the late Gerald Levert, Brian McKnight, Eeric Benet, Alicia Keys, and so many, many more who actually get it and are doing their part to not destroy the artform.

@All
I'm just wondering though...can true Soul and Hip Hop continue to survive if the dominate artists don't elevate their craft?
Which records out now can we honestly say, we'll be singing in 20 to 50 years time?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Badu will look back on this and hopefully learn from it. Her target audience are mature. Sade made a come back, fully clothed and she sold records, unless i am mistaken, but Sade sold records, enough to keep her relevant without the extra dramma.

I believe the true art can survive. My worry though is that, music is supposed to be passed on from one generation to another, the art form is supposed to evolve, and inorder for it to evolve for the better and to survive, the previous generation must understand the nature and intent of the art. If it has been corrupted and the young generation which is supposed to carry the art form and pass it on does not understand it, what are the chances that we will have decent future musicians who will evolve it and make it survive with the true intent? and who will buy the true art when the are not used to it? Their ears are not used to decent music, they will never learn the true form of this art and carry it on. I understand the underground artists are good, but they are facing major abstacles to pass on the true art. The true art needs to be promoted majorly not minorly for it to be appreciated by many including the young.

"Which records out now can we honestly say, we'll be singing in 20 to 50 years time?"

and,

How many of today's artists, eg lad gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna, to mention but a few, will be able to make stage live performances to the music that they have produced now at the age of 7o and above like Tina Turner? Tina Turner could sit on a bench at 80, sing with soul and be entertaining? I am not making attacks, i am trying to figure this out.

I am thinking so hard about the records of today that can be bought in 20-50 years time, (Alicia's will survive) even some of the artists that you have mentioned, i have only heard their names but not their music eg, Chrisette, Tamia, Ledsi, have i been living under a rock? Who else have i missed?

I heard an Angie stone song one time, wrote down her name on paper, just incase i never heard her again on radio. How sad is that?

Martha

Karl Nova said...

Ms Badu was only charged $500 which is nothing and her resolve to do what she feels is right and get her messages across in anyway way she feels has only been strengthened by this event.

Her new album is actually good and this whole controversy hasn't really weakened her music, she will keep doing her thing on her terms whether we like it or not. I think she's got great music to come as she's been doing since her debut. Her fans have actually gone out and bought her album and this whole buzz has opened her up to a whole new market, she has risen in the charts and in this time of recession and people downloading illegally more than buying she's actually gonna sell well.

As for this generation, I don't feel sorry for them because the generation before us or rather the motown generation or whatever generation laughed at hip hop saying it was a fad and it is here to stay and great music has come from it, this young generation will have their heroes even though we might look down on them as lesser.

Gaga will be like Madonna who is still rocking with awesome stage shows at 50, apparently Gaga has an amazing live show (not that I like her or care)

I guess folks will be like our parents spinning old records and not caring much about new music coming through in this digital age

I just look for what I like in any generation and keep it moving

Anonymous said...

Karl, i am not saying that her album was weakened, even this very song with this video is veeeeeeeery strong. I believe she could have sold that record with out being naked.

I really don't care much about the music today but for me the difference is that most of the music back in the day was realistic and did not force people to grow up so quickly, it fed the soul and people got realistically comforted and had hope through music. Today's music seems to be false and lazy atleast the one that is publicised. The art of reflecting hard work, talent, and realism is not existent in publicised music today. So many artists cannot write their stuff, play organs and this generation is not encouraged to be creative but the opposite because everything is done for them and given to them. Their possible skills are not being developed which is sad in a way, don't you think? Everyone can be famous these days with or without talent it seems as long as the are willing to be manipulated. That is just my thoughts on today's music.

martha

Karl Nova said...

I first heard "window seat" without the video, in fact I heard her sing it live somewhere and most of her fans already heard it before the video came and I already loved the song, I think the song is strong enough to sell itself and I guess Ms. Badu decided to shoot the video like that, I am still not too sure if she did that to sell the song as much as make a point (I'm still not feeling her execution of it but hey the song is good to me either way)

Black folks have always been forced to grow up fast in America, the place all our beloved artists come from, so even back in the day when the lyrics were not as explicit, behind the music the circumstances that forced folks to grow up fast still existed both for artists and for the people from the same circumstances.

Hip Hop changed everything and put words to that experience in a way that had never been done before and personally i love that because it was just telling it as it is.

The only thing about music today is there is so much of it and the good stuff is not as popular as the commercialized stuff which is pushed down our throats. That I can't stand but hey i know to use the internet to find the good stuff.

You spoke of artists not writing their stuff, well that has always been the case from back then up until now, most artists had songs written for them. I mean that's what Motown was built on lol

In today's music the thing is there is more of it and more people making it and more ways of getting it out there and this is actually the most creative time ever, it's just that it forces the public to be more active in seeking out the good stuff from the overwhelming amount available. As well as the poppy catchy stuff they try to make us buy which all sounds the same most times.

I don't know about people being famous with no talent because you must have at least some kind of ability to record a song.

Anonymous said...

@All

Good Morning...and great discussion, so much to respond to, I;ll do my best, lol!

Martha...Right On! We share many of the same worries. You nailed it when you said "It Fed the soul". That's honestly what it used to do. Just listen to an old Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Aretha franklin and Mahalia Jackson record, lord have mercy, their stuff would move you.
Many don't know, and don't seem to want to know, same way as with our history, too many think it's irrelevant.
It's a shame and a testament to society and the music business that we have to go digging to find artists who understand legacy and can see the big picture. They used to be the norm. If I wanted to hear a record about love, real love, I knew a Luther Vandross, Al Green, and that set were going to come through. They were Pre- R. Kelly and that ilk who left or leave nothing to the imagination and who have since dominated radio.
One saving grace over here is Adult-Contemporary radio stations, these are the ones who play artists who keep it clean whether they are contemporary or classic. So I can hear a Sade, Maxwell, Corrine Baily Rae, Michael Jackson, Raphael Saadiq, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Smoky Robinson, Pattie Labelle, Luther, Freddy Jackson, and James Brown on the same playlist....without being interrupted by an offensive rap record.


Karl...the charge is minor on the surface. You see I can only speak from the context as a parent and one day, given today's technology, Ms. Badu will have to explain this to her kids, what an interesting discussion that'll be I'm sure.
She's not the first artist to have a stunt to backfire and sadly she won't be the last...
If one is going to get in trouble (or cause controversy) for their art at least let the trouble be worth it. I just don't think this was....it was unnecessary. I agree with you that "Window Seat" is a strong song...it caught my attention immediately on the radio without a visual as well. That to me, is a true test of an artist.
Someone of her caliber, didn't need to do this.

There are a lot of people who take the position of "what's the big deal?"
and I'm not really surprised that there are many who find nothing wrong with what she did in the video...But for me (and I'm not the only one who feels this way) it's just another example of desensitizing the public to things that used to be out of order and over the line. The more we "see it", the less it will offend seems to be the trend. It's already happened in Hip-Hop with the gratuitous use of misogynistic and violent lyrics and visuals, now it's not a problem for many to be called a B or an H or the N word or to be treated as an object. Young men walking around with their pants down to their knees, looking like they haven't bathed in days and can't string two sentences together. When did this become Okay???? Whose experiences are they reflecting?

I just believe some of these "personas" are created in the studio in order to sell records.
I;ll say it the cows come home...artists should be careful of the pictures they paint with their words and or images. The consequences are too far reaching.

I'm not sure what you mean about Americans having to grow up faster...can you explain that one Karl?

Signed,
Tee

Karl Nova said...

According to her twitter, Badu has already explained it to her kids and family so its not like they are unaware of what she did.

I don't understand what you mean when you say the stunt backfired, it achieved promotion for her album as well as consolidating her fanbase who seem to follow everything she does as if it was scripture. All this publicity for just $500?, I would say it hasn't backfired at all, in fact it's worked for her. I don't approve of it and thought it was totally unnecessary given the kind of climate we're in where folks objectify women and are pre-conditioned to view females especially black ones in a sexualized way. I'm sure she was aware of this and did it anyway knowing all that which is sad.

I do not condone the misogyny, violence and materialism in hip hop but that is only just a reflection of the materialism, misogyny and violence in America both past and present which hip hop culture reflects. I never said it is ok, explain something doesn't mean condoning it :D

The point I made about growing faster was answering something Martha refered to where because of the current music pushed on to young folks she said they are forced grow up faster, if the kids she refered to were from the same circumstances that the music came from then they would be used to seeing what the music talked about and it wouldn't mean the music is making them grow up faster, not that I am saying that music with adult themes should be fed to young people, it just means parenting has to step up more because sadly you can't rely on labels and artists to be responsible to not continue churning out music that has adult themed lyrics pushed on to kids via the media. The reason why I said America is because its where the music we are talking about comes from.

Personas have always been created to sell music, that is old from the time the record company started e.g in Motown etc etc its just that now these artists like you've said seem to resort more and more to pushing negativity, misogyny, materialism and other junk mainly to sell, sell, sell.

There is good mature and positive rap music but sadly the negative seems to be promoted to sell more and is pushed on folks, there is no balance now like before sadly, what is one to do? I don't think crying about "the gold old days" is gonna help the present. I guess that's my main point, we have to just deal with the present as best as we can.

Anonymous said...

You cannot deal with the present if you do not understand the past and the circumstances.

By growing faster i meant that, most of the music back in the day explained a situation, and when it explained a situation, it did not make it out to be what it is not in most cases. Which is the case for most today. Granted, there were problems in the past, racism under which motown thrived, even under those hard circumstances, whoever wrote the songs, or sang the songs and performed them delivered and were in harmony. It is like they had the same vision. Imagine they were forced to grow, had less opprtunities, racially and extremely discriminated against but the music they gave was not forcing others to grow, but explaining a situation. Karl Nova, i have listened to your tracks, let it out, alone but not lonely and love letter, those three songs are classics, believe it or not (are you even aware of this? lol), that m friend is mastering art and understanding the nature and intent. Imagine how many children would benefit from listening to those three songs if the were promoted on large scale. *winks*

As for the part of writing the songs, es, it has always bbeen like that and it still is, but atleast if you cannot write, sing, be good at something other than looking good. Mind you these people are being exploited, granted many of our iconic artists were exploited, but atleast they did not give us crap, the left a legac even if they were empty in the pockets. But this is not my issue, my issue is, the young ones have been done alot of injustice by denying them the likes of you. We have enough trouble with children, i mean some children listen to hate songs and relate to them more than positive music, that worries me alot. And also any song that makes them escape from reality rather than facing it is what they can relate to more. It is sad that there are no songs that on the air waves that reflect reality for our generation.

Karl it is not about the good old das, it is about the good old days attitude that has been lost. I probably would not care about today's music, but i care because it seems to imbalanced.

I have lost m chain of thought here, it might sound offish. LoOOL *shrugs*

martha

Anonymous said...

@ Tee,

Exactly. That right there is the point. LOve songs, empowering songs, songs which explained something real, and not imaginary. Those songs were well thought out and whoever wrote them was not lazy at thinking and that is the truth ruth. LOL! Something you could relate to and understand or dream about. Something calming that gave you some bit of sanity, music that made you understand that you were not the only one with a certain problem and gave you comfort in return. That is the whole point.

martha

Anonymous said...

@Karl,

Firstly,
Don't take anything being said as an attack...there is not were the concerns laid out are rooted. Who said you condoned anything? The examples that I used in reference to rap were to further my point of how boundaries (Which to me is what the larger issue is in regards to Ms. Badu taking off her clothes) have longed been crossed in that art-form and in music in general..whether it's hip-hop,rock, soul or pop.

Of course there's good/positive hip-hop. It goes without saying. The context of my words were to connect them to the lack of boundaries being shown by some artists.

I've peeped your offerings and very much like what I hear... We just need more of the likes of you, not only on your end of the world but here too.



As for the "good old days", no ones "Crying" about them. Far from it. There's a big difference between crying and reminiscing about something. Plus there are some contemporary artists who have a classic vibe about them such as Raphael Saadiq and Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, just to name a few who I enjoy listening to....so I don't always have to go back 20 plus years to find quality music.

Yep, the stunt backfired in my opinion. The flip side of all that publicity of which you speak, is that the response has been negative. She recently stated in an appearance that the public has misunderstood what she was trying to do.
As for what she told her family, well we'll just have to take her word for it, although I don't see how any child her childrens ages would get it, when a lot of adults don't.

But again this goes back to my earlier point of the age gap thing; as to how this whole thing is being perceived.

I'll give you another example there was a former music show contestant who performed on a music awards show to promote his single, well he placed a dancer's face into his crotch, and french kissed one of the back up musicians live on television...you can pretty much guess how the reaction went, those who complained were called hypocrites, and those who had no problem with it, didn't see what the big deal was, although the show was on an accessible network and during a time when kids were still awake.

My job (as a parent) is tough as it is because unlike the time I was raised, there were not that many options to access things. I'm doing my part, and I make the decision as to what is listened to and what is seen on top of reinforcing not only cultural norms but societal ones as well.

It's like you said ..we have to deal as best we can.

Anonymous said...

@Martha,

That's what I'm talking about sis!
They truly reflected not only their time but what was going on in the community. We looooved each other. Relationships were stable, kids were in check, the communities for the most part were solid.
These songs made you feel good inside, brought joy, kept you hopeful because it was based on something real.
This stuff now is pure sexual fantasy. It so full of lust til it ain't funny. These jokers wouldn't know intimacy if it fell from the sky and landed on their heads. The artists of old could tell you they loved you or wanted you without being offensive, crude and just plain nasty and filthy. Thank goodness for the Brian McKnights, BabyFaces, Maxwells, etc who can sing about love using some of the most sweetest lyrics, especially now that many of the other greats have passed on. I miss Luther but his legacy lives on.
It's like you said it comes down to creativity...some have it and others just don't.

Karl Nova said...

@ Martha: I hear you, I just think sometimes we look back to the past with rose tinted glasses and it's all good to look back but trust me as an artist in a whole new world of music, the past cannot teach me how to deal with this new world. We have the internet, new music technolgy and digital music which has changed music forever in terms of how it is created and distributed and I have to keep my eyes firmly in the present to deal with it, I appreciate the past but trust me it is all different now. Also as much as the past had music with more balanced content one thing we have now that wasn't around then are more black music entrepreneurs who own their masters and run their business, I'm speaking of the Diddys, JayZs, Lil Waynes, 50 Cents etc who own their stuff, back in the day it was only Berry Gordy mainly at Mowtwon and trust me as much as the art of music was more wholesome, the artists were more or less slaves in those days to the labels.

As for my musical journey, from day one, I knew what I was up against as one who wants to bring substance and not subscribe to the same old negative stereotypes. I knew that not conforming means being marginalized and more so as one who started out as strictly gospel artists. Nowadays I see myself as a christian who is an artist and I try to touch on all issues that affects me as a man seeking to be me regardless of the fads and trends and negative ideas out there. I know it means being underground and unpopular and its not easy to keep going but I know that the message I have is what the young generation needs so I will keep going. I know what I have to face, the challenges to just be seen and heard are enormous but hey this is the life I chose or the life that chose me.

Lastly music has always been about escapism, in "This is it" Michael Jackson said that plainly. He said the people need an escape and he planned to give them what they wanted but obviously with his message of love and peace. So it reflects reality but come on the song "thriller" for example was just a fantasy and thats fine, a lot of MJ songs and many others were just escapism while others like some of Marvin Gaye were socially conscious (well "whats going on?" was hehehe)

Music today is imbalanced and it is a hard grind for a young man to not conform but I will not sell out my artistic integrity even though it is so tempting

Karl Nova said...

@ Tee: I know you weren't attacking me :D none of your comments have been taken that way at all LOL We are all just discussing

I know you're not crying for the old days, nostalgia and reminiscing are good but as one who is involved in the cut throat day to day business of music I can only afford to do that sporadically, I need to stay focused on the present. I have to be on my toes concerning this new digital age of music which is unlike any time in music we have ever seen. It is a whole new world. The internet has truly totally changed the game although the honesty and substance of music should be the same as before and I try to maintain that, the distribution, creation and business of music is different and we are all adjusting, even big labels are adjusting, the record industry is dying as it is, they don't know how to deal with how the internet is killing it's former monopoly and cash cow, I guess that's why the quality of mainstream music is falling so bad because everyone jumps on anything that sells quickly from autotuned songs to catchy dance songs etc etc

As for Erykah I still say the stunt didnt backfire, her fanbase hasn't dwindled and new fans have been made aware of who Erykah is this time when people have a short memory of who she is. In this business there truly is nothing like bad or negative publicity because the attention span of people is so short. Her fans who buy her music will remain fans while she will gain new ones because of this stunt. At the end of the day its about selling music and she is set to sell well in these times when sales have dropped due to illegal downloading. This is still a music business and she is gonna do good business off the back of this.

There is still good music out there and we've mentioned the names of people, the era of 60s/70s soul is gone, I mean even the 80s wasn't that great like that time and once the 90s hit, it was over.

I say enjoy your Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Musiq Soulchild, India Arie, Chrisette Michelle, Jazmin Sullivan, Ledisi, Mary J Blige, Jill Scott, Dwele, Erykah Badu (LOL), Sade, Ne-Yo, Monica, Lisa McClendon, Beyonce, Corinne Bailey Rae, Frank McComb, Lemar and the many others that still make wholesome music about love....... its all there if you're looking :D

As for me and many others, we are aware of how sick the world is and how negative the world of music and entertainment is, we go in with our eyes open and aim to reach as many young folks as we can even we are not signed by majors and not played all over the radio and MTV Base

Anonymous said...

I am not saying that you conform or sell your integrity, i was making reference to your songs because they reflect what type of music i am talking about, which is lacking in the media right now. It is a shame that many children are denied your type of music and not even one puppet artist is doing it.

The artists were slaves to the record companies granted, that is why i said, though they were exploited, they left a legacy atleast, which i doubt today's artists that children are falling over, apart from a very few are going to be left. Sad really, i guess that is life.

On another note, i think some music is not an escapism, some of it is for facing reality, Micheal used music to escape from his own problems, i could understand it when he says it, some of the songs were facing reality.

Blessings to all.

*back to the drawing board*, if music is blocked and denied to reflect on reality, what is the alternative? * scratches head*

It saddens me. Really does.

martha

Anonymous said...

@Karl

I hear ya!

Keep pressing on bro! (smile)

Tee

Anonymous said...

Co-sign Tee.

Karl, to clarify, that history line was not aimed at you but trying to explain the situation the music business is in because many seem not to understand what and why and how music was done in the past. Which is why we have misguided music buyers who do not appreciate the good stuff and would not know good stuff even if it hit them, which i find sad.

For my own consolation, your music is great and it is testimony to the past even if it is in the present.It is the truth.

martha

Tolita said...

I have to say I agree with you Karl, for once on the querying the validity of the execution, as in was it the best way to get the message across.

I especially liked this paragraph...

'I have questions for Erykah like “is stripping in public the best way you can show you’re evolving as a person?” or “is the freedom you seek within yourself from fear found in breaking societal norms of decency?” or “do you realise that as a celebrity, many of your fans exhibit hero worship more than critical thinking towards your work and are therefore just hoping on your bandwagon exhibiting groupthink?” or “do you realise making yourself the subject in your art and actual metaphor might come off as you being quite self-absorbed, attention seeking and martyr-like in a video tackling a topic like this?”'

Couldn't put it better myself. I think much of Erykah's art is lost in pretentiousness and self-importance which is a pity because she's otherwise very good.


I don't think it's fair to have a go or dismiss some men as 'religious' because they might feel turned on by the vid. It's not that arousal per se is wrong but there's a time and a place. If other artists do the same thing (stripping) without hiding behind the 'profound message' argument you would be less likely to condemn those men as 'religious' if they chose to look away.

Regarding the children at the shoot being traumatised...we can argue to the cows come home about prudishness regarding nudity but at the end of the day EB should have considered that kids would be around. It really should be the parents call whether their sprogs should be exposed to EB's nakedness -not to mention the violence of the mock assassination attempt- but they had no prior warning and in a way it's an infringement on their right to choose.


BTW Gaga being like Madonna is nothing of note unless you triumph style over substance. Lady Ciccone was of the major 'pioneers' of the mediocrity driven by hype and controversy. Longevity of fame isn't always an implication of quality as you know.

I'm inclined to agree with Martha and Tee so I won't repeat what he or she said. (Thank you Tee for your comment on the complacency regarding misogyny in Hip Hop). This generation has got some genuine talent in its ranks and they shall stand the test of time. It's just a shame the ones who are most highly promoted are fluff and nothing in comparison to their musical forbears. Thank God for the quality of previous generations.

I have to say I disagree Karl on your take on the 1980s. That decade was one of the most diverse and innovative times for music and one of my favourites. Yes there was a dwindling by the 90s, but you also have mavericks like Teddy Riley (although he did borrow heavily from the past). I just hope in your attempts to get with the new and technological advancement you're not allowing cynicism to creep in. I agree with the post that said we should keep the attitude of the old school. Those making the best music nowadays definitely do that to some extent.


Shalom, Tolita x

Anonymous said...

The buyers have the power. If only the buyers attitude would change, then the music and artists would adjust. I can see Karl's point of view as an artist.

Anonymous said...

Tolita said...

(Thank you Tee for your comment on the complacency regarding misogyny in Hip Hop).
-----------------------
Just saw this...you are quite welcome.

It's so hard to ignore with it being so blatant, lyrically and visually.
Which in turns makes it very difficult to support the genre in spite of its beginnings and the quality artists (past and present) within its ranks.

Signed,
Tee

Karl Nova said...

The artform of rapping and the culture of Hip hop in itself is a beautiful thing, rhyming with rhythm and the music is beautiful and I will always love those basic redeemable elements even though it is abused by some who use it to push their own agenda. Thankfully there are artists within the genre who use it as a vehicle to express truth and I am one of those people and there are many if you look closely but then if hip hop is not your personal taste you might not be bothered to search them out. I am against the misogyny, materialism and all the other junk, my music above speaks for me. (Not that I'm saying anyone was saying I support the negativity within the genre)

As for Badu, I still maintain I get the point. I'm not too sure her execution was the best way to get her point across but the discussions this video has sparked up concerning objectification, over sexualization and misogyny black women have to deal with in the music industry (as well as outside the music business) are priceless.

I find it quite amazing how a black woman being nude can stir so much controversy. I guess there's a lot of baggage and negative connotations that colour the view of people and if this video forces people to face that baggage and deal with it then I guess it's been a good point of discussion because the video is done and it can't be reversed.

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