Last week, we posted the video for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” the Erykah Badu collaboration from the Flaming Lips’ collaborative album The Flaming Lips And Heavy Fwends. The video, which was truly weird and pretty uncomfortable to watch, has since been taken down, but it featured Erykah’s sister Nayrok — who looks a whole lot like Erykah — rolling around very naked in glitter and blood and white goo. As it turns out, Erykah and Nayrok aren’t too happy with the way this video came out. And you don’t have to be a genius to know that it’s probably a bad idea to piss off Erykah Badu.
After the video went out into the world, the Lips issued a statement apologizing for letting an “unedited and unapproved” version of the video leak out. This apology was not enough for Erykah, who directed a long and pointed Twitlonger post at Lips leader Wayne Coyne. Here’s what it says:
then… perhaps, next time u get an occasion to work with an artist who respects your mind/art, you should send at least a ROUGh version of the video u PLAN to release b4 u manipulate or compromise the artist’s brand by desperately releasing a poor excuse for shock and nudity that sends a convoluted message that passes as art( to some).
Even with Window Seat there was a method and thought process involved. I have not one need for publicity . I just love artistic dialogue . And just because an image is shocking does not make it art.
You obviously have a misconception of who I am artistically. I don’t mind that but…
By the way you are an ass.
Yu did everything wrong from the on set .
You showed me a concept of beautiful tasteful imagery( by way of vid text messages) .
I trusted that. I was mistaken.
Then u release an unedited, unapproved version within the next few days.
That all spells 1 thing ,
Self Serving .
When asked what the concept
meant after u explained it , u replied ,”it doesn’t mean anything , I just want to make a great video that everyone is going to watch. “
I understood , because as an artist we all desire that. But we don’t all do it at another artist’s expense .
I attempted to resolve this respectfully by having conversations with u after the release but that too proved to be a poor excuse for art.
You begged me to sit in a tub of that other shit and I said naw. I refused to sit in any liquid that was not water. But Out of RESPECT for you and the artist you ‘appear’ to be, I Didn’t wanna kill your concept , wanted u to at least get it out of your head . After all, u spent your dough on studio , trip to Dallas etc.. Sooo, I invited Nayrok , my lil sis and artist, who is much more liberal ,to be subject of those other disturbing (to me ) scenes . I told u from jump that I believed your concept to be disturbing. But would give your edit a chance.
You then said u would take my shots ( in clear water/ fully covered parts -seemed harmless enough) and Nayrok’s part ( which I was not present for but saw the photos and a sample scene of cornstarch dripping ) and edit them together along with cosmic, green screen images ( which no one saw) then would show me the edit. .
Instead, U disrespected me by releasing pics and rough vid on the internet without my approval. (Contract breech )
That is equivalent to putting out a security camera’s images of me changing in the fitting room.
I never would have approved that tasteless, meaningless, shock motivated video .
Our art is a reflection of who we are . I have no connection to those images shot in their raw version. I was interested in seeing an amazing edit that would perhaps change or alter my thoughts . Never happened .
You also did the same thing with the song itself which displays crappy “rough “vocals by me . I let it go , perhaps iiiii was missing something, I thought.
I Should have followed my first mind back in studio when recording the vocals “your way”.
( Red flag.) It was uncomfortable.
For that I am at fault .
Consequently, brother, As a human I am disgusted with your what appears to be desperation and poor execution. And disregard for others . As a director I am unimpressed . As a sociologist I understand your type. As your fellow artist I am uninspired. As a woman I feel violated and underestimated.
Hope it works out for ya ,Wayne.
Really i could give a shit less.
Still love your live show tho.
And , you’re welcomed.
Lesson learned .
By the way I have guested in very few videos. But I have always been given the opportunity to see the edit and contribute to it when my roll is substantial. Not this time .
I guess u feel it better to apologize than ask for permission and be refused . Hey, Love u man, but your ways are not very nice .
O, And on behalf of all the artists u have manipulated or plan to manipulate, find another way .
These things have been said out of necessity.
And if you don’t like it
you can KiSS MY Glittery ASS .
O and Nayrok told me to tell u to kiss her ass too .
Honestly, the video seemed pretty gross and exploitative even before learning that the Badu sisters hadn’t approved it. Knowing that, it’s pretty easy to see why Erykah might be furious. Wayne Coyne’s response, however, was not exactly contrite. Here’s what he Tweeted: “Hey @fatbellybella I kissed it!!!! Thanks!!!!!!” That came with this photo, of Coyne looking smug, with glitter on his lips.
Further Coyne responses: “Yessss!!! Nice ass!!!!,” “Dang!!!!! @fatbellybella you really know how to do it!!!! You hatin on me has gotten the video 100,000 more views !!!LOVE LOVE LOVE,” “You were right on! @fatbellybella you said we gonna make a video that is controversial and gets everybody talkin!You the master!! Love you.” He also retweeted a whole bunch of people supporting him in the argument and calling him a genius. Pretty gross, Wayne Coyne!
Badu also responded a bit further: “again, you’re welcomed. You Enjoy it. People need to see the greed up close. AAAAnd you DO NOT have the ass of 26 year old.” And: “Enjoy your fruits. You’ll surely need them later, brother. Im just a man u met in the restroom.” (I have no idea what that second one means.) Badu also Tweeted this to Coyne’s wife: “hi was wondering when u were gonna sober up and say somethin.your husbands an ass and u know it-tell the truth.Do not lie.”
This isn’t Stereogum’s official opinion or anything, but based on all that, I’m firmly Team Badu on all this.