Images of America -

Analyzing Music Videos: Erykah Badu

Integrated U. S. History and American Literature Class
Deborah Aufdenspring and Sandra Mings-Lamar

New Technology High School, Napa, CA

(Quick Links to related pages)

Below are some captured stills from a music video that will help you understand the kinds of analyses you are expected to do. Remember that all captured stills are the property of the particular music video copyright holder. Stills are to be used in your scholarly work only and copyrights noted.

"Next Lifetime" - Erykah Badu

"Next Lifetime" shows Erykah Badu in three time periods, two historical (in Africa and the U.S.) and one imagined (in the future). There are a number of historical images in the first two periods. Besides singing about love, is Badu (who was co-director) making other statements? About history? About struggles? About morality? About the role of women?

The Video:

All Erykah Badu stills copyright Kedar Entertainmemt / Universal Records
Is there a significance to the date "1637 A.D." at the beginning of the video?

Most of our ancestors came to America from somewhere else. Only one group came in the chains of slavery. Is Badu's video saying anything about that and about conditions in the "motherland?"

What was "The Movement?" Why was it chosen as a title?

Who are these hooded figures?
What's the history here?
How do they relate to what's going on in the video?


The video has a wealth of detail. African-American politics in this period was never tightly united. Along with traditional African-American political organizations, there were "black power" and "black nationalist" groups. Are there clues to various organizations and factions in the video?

Quick Links

Introduction - Analyzing Music Videos
Music Video Assignment
Analysis Tips
Comparing and Contrasting Music Videos
Grading Rubric

Stills of Sample Videos, with Sample Analysis Questions:
Billy Joel.....Erykah Badu.....Pop up Videos.....Tracy Lawrence

Rage Against the Machine.....Vince Gill.....Van Halen.....Aqua.....12 other videos

For Teachers...

For examples of recent student projects on analyzing music videos:
Student Work

E-mail me.

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