Freedom of Expression?

I did a lot of thinking about this weeks’ blog. Maybe I would follow-up on the prodigy article from last week. Or choose from the many strange stories circulating about celebrity musicians this week. My blog choice would have to be balanced, keeping my overall goal of everything written about each person positive and educational. That said I made the choice of the Erykah Badu story.

What a bizarre story it is! If you didn’t hear the report, let me give you a summary of events. Ms. Badu was filming a music video in downtown Dallas, Texas (her hometown) when in the middle of the filming she began taking her clothes off to the point of total nudity. Lot’s of questions came to my mind as I heard this story. What could possibly make a person strip of all clothing in broad daylight in the middle of a crowd of people? Could it be mental illness, chemical warfare, insect infestation, allergic reaction on the skin? Or could it be self-promotion for fame and money? Hmm! One thing for sure, Erykah Badu is the ultimate artist. She possesses a very beautiful voice but her performances constantly scream out “I’m an artist and I’m expressing my freedom”. If you have ever seem her perform live I’m sure you would definitely agree. After hearing about these strange events I started to think about so many other vocalists past and present. I really was thinking about the way they all were promoted. Alicia Keys came to mind. Would she film a video and strip of all of her clothing in the middle of Times Square? Highly unlikely! At that point all the thoughts became clearer. There are differences in the ways vocalists’ express themselves while performing. I remembered some of my conversations with management company and record company executives about promotion in general. Fiscally, even twenty years ago the price of breaking a new artist was astronomical. There was so much invested in new entertainers that there was no room for mistakes early in a career. One manager specifically told me that they had to have total control of the new entertainer. He or she had to be told what to wear, eat, what to say and how to say it in every interview. That brings me to another question – Did the record company tell Ms. Badu to expose herself in public to promote her new album? Maybe not! I really think she wanted to bear all for art. But where do you draw the line and say no? As with Erykah Badu, that is a question each artist must answer for themselves.

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