Listeners Chime In On Erykah Badu's 'Window Seat'

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Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Tanya Ballard Brown, an NPR digital news editor, sort through listener feedback and offer updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, the audience weighs in on Michel's commentary about the racial disparity in graduation rates between male basketball players in the Final Four and our conversation about women in politics with NPR's Cokie Roberts. We also hear from listeners about the fuss over Erykah Badu's video for her new song, "Window Seat."


And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Tanya Ballard Brown, one of NPR's digital media editors, is here sitting in for Lee Hill. Welcome, Tanya.

TANYA BALLARD BROWN: Hi, Michel. We started the week with your commentary, March Madness in Black and White. You talked about the racial disparity in graduation rates between male basketball players at the various colleges competing in the Final Four. You noted that just 49 percent of the black male student athletes in the Sweet 16 graduated, while 76 percent of the white male student athletes graduated. Listener David says there are several factors that come into play.

DAVID: Many male athletes in certain sports have a particularly high sense of entitlement, which leads to a lack of educational effort. We have to look at a conflux of factors here to better understand these racialized engendered disparities. How many parents of these African-American basketball players attended or graduated from college? How about the white ones?

MARTIN: OK, that's one perspective. Thank you, David. Tanya, later in the week, I spoke with NPR senior news analyst Cokie Roberts about women in politics and how they seem to have avoided some of the salacious sex scandals of their male counterparts. Our conversation even got a mention on the Don Imus show. Cokie told us that women in politics she spoke with said they were just too busy to cheat.

But listener Ted(ph) wondered if women are just better at keeping secrets. He writes, quote: Given that women aren't as sexually driven as men, I can't help but wonder, and as much as men tend to view affairs as conquests - things to brag about could it be that women are simply less forthcoming about their affairs, especially in a public discussion setting?

BROWN: Thanks, Ted. Now, Michel, there's a lot of chatter on the Web about the new Erykah Badu video for her song, "Window Seat."

(Soundbite of song, "Window Seat")

Ms. ERYKAH BADU (Musician): (Singing) Can I get a window seat? Hey. Don't want nobody next to me. I just want a ticket out of town, a look around and a safe touchdown. Can I get a window seat? Don't want nobody...

BROWN: In this video, Erykah took her Badu-ism to a whole another level. She stripped off her clothes while walking a street in Dallas where a lot of people, including children, were present. Both you and TELL ME MORE producer Teshima Walker blogged about the attention the video has garnered. Some people took issue with Badu's public nakedness, but we hear from Casey(ph), who had this to say.

CASEY: Nakedness is natural and universal. It's not all about sex. It's about vulnerability. I felt some kind of freedom when I saw the video. I am really grateful to her for providing an excellent counterpoint to the crap that's out there. I would so much rather that my kids see this video than memorize Beyonce's dances.

MARTIN: Thank you, Casey. We also received this note from Angela. She writes, quote: Not cool, Erykah. I understand the need for self-expression and a need to get your point across. But in front of all those kids? Nobody wants to see that mess. Well, thank you, Angela and thank you, Tanya.

BROWN: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also become my friend on Facebook, or you can log onto our Web site. Go to, click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE, and blog it out.

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