Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Erykah Badu's Nude Video and
Embracing the Black Derriere

Erykah Badu In Concert - Montreux


People are praising and criticizing Erykah Badu's new video "Window Seat." All the hoopla is over Badu stripping nude. I've been reading other blogs to see how people are feeling. Some say it's art others say she's just trying to sell records. If you haven't seen her video, it takes place in Dallas, Texas were President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. You can watch the video below. She's addressing this term we hear at the end of the video called "groupthink." She explains groupthink to the Dallas Morning News, "It’s human nature for a person to be afraid to express his or her self in fear of being ostracized by the group or general consensus. A lot of times people are judged unfairly because of that." Basically, she's going against the "norm," by baring it all.

The part of the video getting the most attention is one of Badu's body parts--her butt. Badu caught us off guard. We didn't know the slim soul singer was carrying all of that junk in her trunk. But I'm looking at the whole picture. As a woman with a bubble bum, I appreciated Badu's curves because black women's derrieres don't always get love. Black women's buttocks have been objectified since before the days of the Hottentot Venus. Our curvaceous rumps were considered "odd" and associated with sexual easiness back then. Outside of communities of color, big booties were deemed as unattractive or a body part that made people look fat. Sir Mix-A-Lot expressed admiration to the black boo-tay in "Baby Got Back." Since Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez have come along, bootyliciousness is "in"--for now. Women are padding their jeans and spending thousands on butt enhancement surgery. In music videos, the black woman's booty has become a exploited and disposable thing. A thing that shakes for anyone. Even the rugged dude at the club with the gold tooth gets a free rump shake on camera. With "Window Seat," here we have a black behind in a music video that isn't jiggling for men's pleasure. Badu is walking through a Dallas park like a woman on a mission (when she recorded this, Badu went without a crew nor permission from the city). You can see the strength and fearlessness in her stride. Also you get this sense of liberation. And yes her bum is round and full and beautiful. It sits high just like her head. No gyrating on mens' laps or credit cards sliding down strippers' behinds in this video. Badu, in her naked and true self, strides with pride and commands respect. She's defining her body, her art and her self. I've written about women, black women in particular, reasserting their identity and bodies. Badu tells the Dallas Morning News she was petrified about this project because she says of, "Not being in love with my body, not being secure about being vulnerable, the police coming to take me to jail." She challenges groupthink by breaking the law, being nude, displaying her body that's not glamorized, nor embraced by the mainstream.

Badu is an artist and artists push us. Nudity doesn't always equate to something being demeaning. I'm more concerned about mess like this where the women are scantily clothed. She stepped out of the pop box to express herself and that's what true artists do. I respect Badu's project and see a bit of myself in her. She's shaped like me, brown like me and like the bold word on her back, I'm "evolving" too. But, I'm not skipping through the Santa Monica Promenade butt-naked anytime soon.



P.S.--Badu got the video idea from punk duo Matt and Kim. Watch their video here.




Photo Credit:
PicApp

Comments

  1. You have summed it up my dear!!! Even some menz can see it for the art and statement that it was, my 28 year old son included!! He said he wasn't mad at her for what she did, and was pleasantly shocked! Black menz are something else--they love them some buooty!

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  2. I love Erykah for being so bold. This sista has captivated me for years and I know that the new cd will put me into what I call "my Saturday morning" bliss.

    Tiffany
    http://liferequiresmorechocolate.blogspot.com

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  3. I really love this post. It really annoys me when people write this off as some kind of attempt to get attention. That's being menatlly lazy if you ask me.

    As a quirky black girl myself, [And a Pisces like Erykah too!] I know all too well about this "Groupthink" mentality. God forbid if we try to go against the grain, your either labeled "crazy", "Gay" or "Trying to be white."

    As for Ms. Badu's booty? lol. I think getting older and having her last child contributed to her filling out. I turned 37 in March {I had my second child at 35] and my butt has gotten rounder. I never had one before! :)

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  4. Thanks for the feedback ladies. Nicole, she's breastfeeding so she's sporting the post-baby body. You're also right that Badu is like that funky, hip black chick that's out of the box. People of all backgrounds are really mad at her. I was reading a story on Yahoo! News and quite a few people called her a skank and feel she should be prosecuted. I'm not surprised b/c look at the hell Janet Jackson caught from the Super Bowl fiasco. Maybe people would have felt differently if she had did this in a studio as opposed to in public.

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