Monday, April 19, 2010

Media Nudity Received Differently Depending on Race?

In an age when music videos get crazier and crazier (see: Lady Gaga’s Telephone if you have any doubts), it would seem that a little nudity is no big deal. But, when the artist Erykah Badu walked naked down the street in Dallas, Texas while filming a music video, the country went up-in-arms. At first, Dallas officials said that they would be unable to press charges unless a witness of the event came forward to complain; of course, shortly after stating that someone came forward.

The question remaining is what the real controversy is over: a woman walking naked down a Dallas street, or a black woman walking naked down a Dallas street. After all, Badu paid homage to Matt and Kim at the beginning of the video, clearly referencing their similar naked parade (see video below). Granted, Matt and Kim did go through the process of getting the proper permits for the act, which Badu neglected; yet, it is still interesting to see how the videos were received.

Both videos had children on scene witnessing the event, though. Badu was criticized for being naked in front of children. This criticism went so far that Dallas police used the fact that “[Badu] disrobed in a public place without regard to individuals and small children who were close by” to charge her with disorderly conduct. Matt and Kim avoided any and all fines, even though their escapade was witnessed by far more people, including “small children.”
There has been so much outrage surrounding the event that people from across the country were calling into “express their concern.”

Why is it that two white individuals can walk through time square with hundreds of people witnessing the event and there is not so much as a mention of the event (at least I never heard about it, I could be wrong), while one black woman walking the streets of Dallas can face criminal charges, national publicity, international publicity, and be criticized profusely?

See Badu’s video -

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