Minutes after bringing the funk to several thousand happy, dancing, enraptured fans on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 8) at Lollapalooza, a blonde mohawked Erykah Badu sat down backstage with Billboard.com on camera to talk about her new jewelry line, a career-spanning Badu documentary, serving it up hot at Lolla, the reaction to her controversial "Window Seat" video, the importance of Twitter, and more.
"It was a shocking thing that I did to create a dialogue about something that meant a lot to me - groupthink," Badu says of the world's reaction to the recent clip for "Window Seat" which featured Badu stripping down to nothing before being "assassinated" in Dallas' Dealey Plaza where John F. Kennedy was shot. "Generally, after you shed all the things that you have learned or that people tell you are real or that people tell you you are, you're nude and vulnerable for assassination, and that's what the video was about. You don't have to agree with it... As a performance artist I like to create dialogue about the art... It's very important for me to use the platform to be honest and creative at the same time." To that end, she r eleased a new clip just yesterday (Aug. 9) for "Window Seat (Remix) Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)," that includes Rick Ross and features her fully clothed.
Long known for her jewelry and fashion choices, Badu says that her huge gold earrings (which she wore for her Lollapalooza performance as well) are not just something she bought: the styles are called Baduwings and Earwings -- and they're the centerpiece of Funktional Art, her first-ever line of jewelry. Fans at her most recent shows may have noticed the earrings onsale at the merch booth, but anyone will be able to pick up a pair plus other items in her Funktional Art line on erykahbadu.com beginning in late-August or September. Badu says that she has already made arrangements to sell them in boutiques in Chicago, Dallas, New York, London and Paris.
"It's the beginning of a new thing for me," she says of the jewelry line. "I'm working with different designers to come up with things that fit me and fit the fans who support me and fit the women who feel free and can fly."
Another huge project that Badu says will soon come to fruition is a documentary about her whole career that she has been filming footage for for the past 13 years. Clips of the still untitled film, which is directed by Badu herself, will first be posted on Erykahbadu.com in the next few months. Snippets from her recent, drama-filled tour with Jill Scott and Maxwell will be coming to Badu's new blog, Baduworld.com/thefreaq. While the film as a whole doesn't have a release date yet, a DVD release is being discussed.
"I'm definitely an analog girl, I'm made of two-inch tape, but I have learned to maneuver through the digital world very well," says Badu, who has 186,000 followers via her @fatbellybella handle on Twitter. "It gives the artist a chance to express themselves. You can hear from me without filters, without a bunch of bulls#it."
"I'm Erykah Badu... and I am here to stay, a staple, a midwife. I feel like this is the beginning for me, so I don't know what's next."