Erykah Badu doesn’t like The Flaming Lips’ video for “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”

on June 06, 2012, 4:06pm

flaming lips badu first time Erykah Badu doesnt like The Flaming Lips video for The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face

Last week, The Flaming Lips released a video for their collaboration with Erykah Badu, “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”. Directed by George Salisbury, the rather explicit clip featured Badu’s sister, Nayrok, naked and covered in various strange substances.

As it turns out, however, Erykah did not approve of the video’s release and has since penned an open letter to the Lips’ Wayne Coyne. In it, she claims, among other things, that Coyne misled her from the start, promising a “concept of beautiful tasteful imagery” that 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, Erykah says Coyne “disrespected me by releasing pics and rough vid on the internet without my approval. 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.”

She concludes, “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.”

You can read the full letter below. It’s worth noting that the video has since been taken offline.

@waynecoyne 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.
From jump,
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 .
Almost forgot.

Ms. Badu


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M. Pah
June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

she’s probably just mad ’cause her tits are so ugly

The Future Heart
June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Nobody knows what really went down except for Wayne and Erykah… and they can’t agree either..
That said, the above post is heavily weighed towards Badu’s side of the story.
The full context of the feud, plus the offending video (as well as a naked photo of Wayne) is posted at  Follow updates there and at!/FutureHeartDay
For the record, both The Flaming Lips and Wayne earnestly apologized and took full responsibilty for the video prior Badu’s open letter rant yesterday.  It’s misleading for Badu to pretend she didn’t know what she was getting into (or to leave out that she disrespected him from the get-go by apparently showing up to the shoot 6 hours late, on Wayne’s dime).
The imagery in this video is basically in line with every other the Lips have made since 2009 (or for that matter, Wayne’s tweets). It’s hard to fathom how this new video could take Badu by surprise if she had seen them. The nude-overload music video for “Watching the Planets” for instance shows a crowd of people attack Wayne, rip off his clothes until he is fully naked (with all his body parts clearly showing) and carry him away as his penis wiggles to and fro – all while he sings the last two-plus verses of the song. They then shove him in the vaginalistic hole of a giant furry ball.
Wayne also gave an explicit preview of this video to Badu – and all his followers – when he tweeted before the shoot, “Makin some fake semen for Erykah Badu @fatbellybella video shoot Sunday!!” on May 24th. ….As the old saying goes, “there’s only so many ways you can make fake semen look classy…”
Additionally, last week – after the video shoot but before the the video upload (and thus backlash against Badu) – the singer praised the video on twitter:”it looks beautiful. Nayrok ( lil sis) looks amazing . U are a Tru visionary .. My fav is the glitter .””Those nude photos posted by Wayne (flaming lips) are of the beautiful Nayrok my lil sister and bestee…Video looks cosmic.”
She also happily anticipated playing Houston’s Free Press with them, tweeting “Badu and flaming lips in Houston sat. :-)”
It’s unclear how Badu acted around the Lips at that show (by which time the video had gone viral, including a very visible posting at As somebody else here pointed out, Wayne watched her from the side of the stage and handed her a bouquet of flowers afterwards. Likewise, she watched the Lips set from side stage and is said to look like she enjoyed it. Lips recording partner Matt Duckworth claims Badu, “was jumpin around on stage with [Wayne] in Htown. guess it made her seem cool then…”
Curiously, Badu’s tirade and insults at Wayne were preceded by her essentially polling her twitter followers. First she tweeted:”Official Flaming Lips Vid discussion. How does it make u feel? Ascetically, What does it make u fear? Anger? Joy? Freedom? Disgust? Discuss” Then she asked, “What if the video has no meaning at all ? Now how do u feel? Re: flaming lips/ badu”
The reason she waited to see how her fans reacted before ranting and insulting Wayne is unclear. The video was uploaded last Friday and not until yesterday did she give any public sign of objecting to the video or how Wayne handled the shoot.
It’s understandable why she would be annoyed if it was released without her approving the finished video, though unclear when her opinion of the work changed (if it did in fact change – in which case those earlier tweets were masking her true feelings with public praise for the project) and what motivated her to react with personal insults at both Wayne (i.e. he is an “an ass,” “old,” “self-serving”) and his wife, Michelle.
Could it be to serve her own image as a spiritually-aware, artistic-integrity, feminist? Note she uses the word “art’ (or variants like “artist”) 14 times in her 3:33 twitlonger statement (included the crux of her argument – that this video “compromise[d her artist] brand”), and climaxes on the line “as a woman I feel violated and underestimated.” Whether it was intentional or not on Badu’s behalf, some of the media coverage of the feud, as well tweets reacting to her (including some by Janelle Monáe) overlooks she wasn’t asked to do anything Wayne wouldn’t do himself to portray her as a hero standing up for women and artists with loftier intentions.
The irony (or clever marketing) is that insulting Wayne is getting Erykah more attention than any of her “art” has since Malaysia banned her use of Allah body art this past February
Who’s using who, what should we do, well you can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too…
Maybe she was mislead. Maybe Wayne did go about it all wrong. Maybe he is an ass. Maybe she’s the self-serving one, spinning her fans outrage to reclaim the repute she lost in some people’s eyes after “Window Seat” at Wayne’s expense. Or maybe it’s that she just really didn’t get what she was getting into – after all, as the song goes, “Wayne, I don’t understand”

June 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It’s The Flaming Lips honestly what the fuck did she expect watch some other Flaming Lips videos and tell me nobody in her camp had any idea they would go over the top… giant hairy vagina ball! come on now miss Badu you knew what you were getting into and you sister did the video she wasn’t held down and covered in goo she coulda stopped it. Wayne and co are asses if they didn’t check with her b4 releasing it but both sides of this story are idiotic… Also who still gives a shit about music videos these days.

June 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

This conveniently takes place a couple of weeks before the album is re-released.  Hmmm.

June 7, 2012 at 5:32 am

well, well, thumbs up for Erykah Badu… for bringing out the unpleasant thruth.

I’ve seen a lot of so called NSFW videos appear lately that were not even close to anything that one could possibly consider “art”… they were mostly just cheap rubbish, most of them incredibly amateurish, with lots of T&A in a desperate attempt to make up for the lack of any creative imagination or concept. The only thing that was shocking about them was how incredibly boring and uninspired they were. But in a world where even bad publicity in the end is still considered publicity… things will probably have to get a lot worse… before they get better.

The new norm seems to be, any video clip – even a terrible one – is better than none at all. I’ve seen some “official” videos being posted lately that were just plain sad. A talented 12 year old with an iphone probably could do better. If that’s the way you choose to promote yourself and your music well good luck then. Excuse me for frowning… – or in the best case: laughing – and forgetting.. fortunately.

June 7, 2012 at 2:15 am

Interesting…  I thought there were some awkward vibes Saturday at Free Press Summer Fest in Houston.  Erykah Badu was on stage immediately before the Flaming Lips.  Wayne was holding a bouquet of flowers on the side of the stage.  

June 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I might respect her opinion if she didn’t use “U” and “yu” in place of the word you… 

Mesha Shep
June 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I agree, it’s one thing when you’re talking to friends or chatting online, but if you’re really writing something that is serious especially regarding your profession and professionalism I would think that those spellings would be off limits. 

buki o
June 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

oh so is her whole point obscured and voided simply because she chose to write U? is it really that hard to grasp her point or is the “U” really that much of a hindrance to your understanding? 

June 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I wonder this.  How the hell did Badu think these images were going to be used?  Seriously.  If she had some great morals and values as she likes to portray, she wouldn’t have allowed it to happen in the first place.  What did she think they would do with footage of a naked woman drenched in liquid that looks like semen?  If this was so important to her, she would have stopped it at that point and not agreed to that footage being used.  On the other hand, she did give Wayne the chance to do the right thing and he chose not to.  She has a right to be mad about that, but she’s just as much to blame for allowing this kind of footage to be filmed if it is so offensive to her.

June 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Oh yeah.  I think the song is pretty cool.  The video, much like almost all music videos, is a waste of my time.  If it was supposed to be shocking, it failed.  

June 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm

She didn’t know about the different liquids her sister was going to be in. Remember he gave her one particular vision and it ended up being something else.

June 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

But her sister participated.  Is she color blind or just completely oblivious to what is going on with her own body? Did her sister not realize that the cornstarch mixture looked like semen?  Badu tries to pass some high and mighty bullshit off to everybody.  I appreciate her music, but her phony agendas are very very tired.

June 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

 Oh oh the judgementality. You are not an artist so I guess this goes over your head. The body you see in the clip is of her sister who  is much more liberl! If you payed attention to MsBadu’s body of work you’d notice there is thought put behind it. This was inconsistent which caused me personally to be alarmed. I saw her comment on the vid on YT  and I knew. 

June 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I’m not an artist?  HOw would you know that?  I know it’s her sisters body.  But her sister has supposedly not approved of th video.  That’s the point I was making.  I’ve paid plenty attention to Badu’s work.  I enjoy her music, but I find her personal agendas and image she tries to pass off to people as being phony.  I wonder how offended “as a woman” she is by the thought that she’s had 3 children with 3 different men, all while never being married to any of them.  Was she worried about her artistic integrity while she was stripping naked in front of children? I enjoy Badu’s music and respect it highly.  I have little respect for her hypocritical remarks. She seems to have some really high moral standards, but only when it’s convenient for her.

June 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I’m sorry but that video was simply disgusting…not only that, it appears the director went against her wishes and for that I would be upset too…all in all I really think it’s a publicity stunt that went awry…

Hms Kinsman
June 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

After reading this twice, I’ve yet to understand her complaint. And she comes off as a hit of an ass herself.

June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm

sounds like a publicity ploy from all sides

June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Ok but you posed naked in the Window Seat video last year….for Shock purposes

buki o
June 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm

god forbid a woman should be in charge of her own body and artistic vision. 

Mesha Shep
June 7, 2012 at 5:52 am

You can’t do it once, agree to do it another time, offer up your sister, and THEN say it wasn’t what you wanted. Just like someone said previously, seems like a publicity stunt on both sides. Badu does not seem like a person who would continue with something she doesn’t agree with or isn’t comfortable with. I could be wrong, but that’s the impression I get. 

June 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

 That argument sounds an awful lot like the empty and offensive “she’s a slut so she can’t be raped.”

As the performer, she had first approval rights on the video. She didn’t approve this for public release. Period.

Mesha Shep
June 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I agree with what you said but my point is that I don’t think it went that way. Seems like a stunt on both sides but of course I could be wrong. 

buki o
June 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm

actually you can. the main word needed here is “CONSENT”. she consented and had control in her window seat video. frankly it seems she signed off on the video that she had previously seen and approved, only to have wayne coyne and friends edit the video to their liking without contacting her for a FINAL approval after they revised the initial product she was shown. is it so hard to grasp that?

Mesha Shep
June 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

No it’s not hard to grasp, smh that you feel the need to get rude and offensive like this is about you. What I am saying/said is that I think it’s some type of publicity stunt therefore she did consent and maybe just didn’t like the lash back that came from it. Again, idk. The truth will come out eventually so I’d suggest that you just take some deep breaths or something. If what she says is true I’m sure she’ll have an easy case and can sue or handle it however she decides. I’m done with the convo. 


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