The End of Groupthink: Trouble for New AmErykah??

Neo soul artist Erykah Badu’s new video for her song “Window Seat” may land her some time behind bars. The video was filmed in downtown Dallas, Texas where president John F. Kennedy was shot, and features the 39-year-old singer walking the streets stripping naked. When interviewed about the video, Badu said that is it a declaration, an attack on groupthink and its followers.

Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. This in turn limits individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking. Members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance.

Badu shot the video on St. Patrick’s day, March 17, so the street was filled with many tourists, residents and children. The singer shared thoughts the day of the shoot through her twitter page. “We had one shot to get it right,” she wrote. “We didn’t plan the shoot. Too busy lookin for cops and being petrified! I remember Tweeting that day, ‘Okay, here goes nothing.’ I felt like I was going to do something life threatening.”

No charges have been flied against the singer thus far because the Dallas Police Department needs a witness to come forward and testify for the case to be prosecuted. Badu could face a class B misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure, which may cost her $2,000 and a jail term of up to 180 days. She may also be charged with a class A enhanced indecent exposure, which carries a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail, (because there were children present during the shoot).The video was done in one take with no crew, and afterward all involved ran away from the site.

At the end of the video Badu is shot down, and the words groupthink bleed from her head. The finish is a though-provoking statement:

“They play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand.  They move in packs, and ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. they are us. This is what we have become, afraid to respect through individual A single person within her circumstance can move one to change, to love herself, to evolve”

“Window Seat” by Erykah Badu

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“It was St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas. I was at the grassy knoll. Although I was thinking one million things as I walked, I didn’t see anything,” she continued tweeting. “I heard people yelling different things at me but I held my head up and kept moving. There were children there. I prayed they wouldn’t be traumatized.”

I love the song and the video, and I commend her for having the courage to do what she did. How do you feel about the video and Badu’s motion to resist Groupthink?



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7 responses to “The End of Groupthink: Trouble for New AmErykah??

  1. Natalia

    I for one, am not a fan of groupthink. I see it every day and quite frankly I just wish people would begin to think for themselves, challenge the process, and if necessary start a movement in order to evoke the change they see needed. I too, commend Badu for standing up for what she believes in. Even if I do not agree, and I’m not saying I don’t, it makes me excited to see someone be bold enough to do something so drastic to make a point. There are so many people who just go through life blending in with the crowd, never really sharing what they feel and that alone is disappointing to me. Three cheers for every person who stands up for their cause even when no one wants to pay attention.

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  3. mbutle

    I am SO happy you made this post. I was reading an article the other day about what inspired her to make the video. I agree with the message and I actually thought that it was a very powerful and original video. Now of course this can never be played on any music channel, but still. This is excellent PR, drama!

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  5. Jayme

    I love the concept of ridding the world of groupthink so we can get back or gain a better sense of individuality. She did it in a very effective way by strutting her stuff down a Texas street. It was not until i saw her on the news that i found out that she was really naked and in the streets. I am happy that the only thing she got was fined, but even that to me was too much considering she is trying to get the world hip to a message that everyone needs to hear.

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