So the video we posted last week has been taken down all over the internet. Apparently, The Flaming Lips’ rendition of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” featuring one Ms. Erykah Badu was still being edited when a rough cut was leaked. What you’ll see from the letter is that Erykah asserts that The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne never showed her even a rough edit, which gave her no chance for input. Also, she seems to feel that there’s some “bait and switch” going on. That is, there’s a big difference between the concept they discussed and the video that was released last week.
Check out this excerpt:
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 .
When you read the entire statement, it seems that Badu is NOT saying that there was anything nefarious going on, i.e., Coyne didn’t necessarily come into this intending to exploit her. What it seems like she’s leaning towards is both his inexperience as a director and his poor handling of the communication and approval process. He seems to have been unable to execute his vision. Whatever the reason, it all still comes out looking exploitative.
I don’t want to chalk it up to an innocent mistake. Coyne probably thought Badu would be down for whatever, given her “Window Seat” performance. Clearly there were too many assumptions made on his part, all of which added up to him pushing the limits of taste and protocol on this video.