There’s this weird trend of mega-star musicians making surprise appearances at schools. Eddie Vedder did it at his alma mater, and Beyoncé did it at her daughter’s school fundraiser. Now you can add Erykah Badu to the list, as she dropped by a Newark high school cafeteria to surprise the students.
Badu’s visit came in collaboration with The Future Project, an education initiative with the goal of inspiring today’s youth the have confidence in their own potential. Instead of giving a speech, however, Badu decided to step to the mic and give an impromptu performance of her 1997 classic “On and On”. (Apparently, this school just always has a DJ spinning during lunch time. Sweet.) As she wandered the cafeteria singing to the students, she snagged a few bites off people’s trays and even jumped up on a table at one point.
Now, one might think this was a pretty cool moment, but look closely at the kids in the video. A few were certainly excited to see such a musical icon just suddenly appear in their school; they’re the one’s dancing and screaming and recording the whole thing. But it also looks like some of these kids just had no idea what they were witnessing. Those sitting in the backs of the room largely stayed seated, others milled about like nothing was happening, and pretty much no one responded when Badu asked, “Ya’ll know this song?” Just look at the faces of the kids at the table onto which she leaps: One dude just keeps eating his hotdog like no big deal and the one in the back looks completely disinterested by the four-time Grammy winner performing six inches away from him.
The Future Project’s ambition is admirable, but it looks like some kids still need to learn how to respect their elders. Watch video of the performance below.