UPDATED: 8:00 a.m. ET, Aug. 13
Originally published Aug. 8
Badu, a guest at Obama’s 60th birthday party held on Aug. 7 at his family’s mansion on the Massachusetts island, apparently violated terms of her invitation when she not only recorded a selfie video with the ex-president in the background but also posted it to her Instagram stories where her 5 million followers could see it. The video was taken down hours later.
The contrite apology came Thursday evening in the form of a tweet in which she expressed sincere regret and referred to herself as the “terrible guest” who should have known better.
“Mr. And Mrs. Obama , Please forgive me 4 being the “terrible guest “ at such a sacred event for your family,” Badu tweeted. “I was so inconsiderate, Thank you for all your love. What an example of ‘how NOT ‘ to be …… erica.”
When someone on social media tried to mock Badu and suggested she was coerced into deleting the video and publicly apologizing, the neo-soul icon simply said she was doing the “right thing.”
Badu’s video went from initially being celebrated as an instance of documenting the Black joy of Obama and his friends partying to being disingenuously politically manipulated as pandemic hypocrisy by right-wing trolls and like-minded conservatives. Critics suggested that the party, which hosted hundreds of people under a massive tent on the sprawling 29-acre waterfront estate, flouted public health guidelines.
The video first showed Badu looking into the camera before she panned over to Obama, with his signature sleeves rolled up, looking like he’s having the time of his life alongside singer H.E.R. The brief video is enhanced by an electricity/laser-esque filter Badu used while filming.
Dozens of onlookers can be seen watching Obama get his groove on.
The video has been preserved in a tweet.
H.E.R. also tweeted a photo of herself standing in between Michelle Obama and the man of the hour with all three of them sporting big smiles. But that tweet was also ultimately deleted hours later.
The New York Post — a conservative tabloid that has been the source of a nonstop stream of criticism about the party since it was announced — reported that at least two people at the party were “forced to delete” what it called “stealth pics” taken without permision.
“Rapper Trap Beckham and manager TJ Chapman discreetly snapped pics of the event’s high-end food, drink and swag offerings and talked to their followers as the party unfolded, according to screenshots of the posts, which were later deleted under the event’s photography ban,” the Post wrote without providing any proof of such an edict.
The Post added that the footage showed both Beckham and Chapman smoking weed at the party. Recreational marijuana use is legal for adults in Massachusetts.
As mentioned, conservatives have been expressing fake outrage over the birthday party because of their purported concerns about the COVID-19 delta variant — an issue many of whom have remained quiet about as their own Republican leaders move to loosen restrictions while infections rise because of vaccine hesitancy.
The criticism is also nowhere to be found when, say, Donald Trump holds his white nationalist assemblies with thousands — not hundreds — of unmasked anti-vaxxers.
Likewise, there was no outrage from right-wing trolls when photos showed the Lollapalooza music festival jam-packed with thousands of unmasked concertgoers late last month.
It was among the most shameless examples of selective outrage and just the latest failed attempt by conservatives to link Obama to scandal.
Meanwhile, Obama’s party was originally billed as having invited upward of 600 guests. But amid increasing reports about the delta variant spreading, the party’s guest list was reportedly scaled back “significantly.”
And, even though it won’t placate the aforementioned Republican-led fake outrage, the New York Times reported that the people invited were “mostly vaccinated” and that they all “had to submit negative tests to gain entry to the property.”
Obama and his family are fully vaccinated and he is among the loudest voices encouraging people to get vaccinated as a way to both protect from infection and to help bring the pandemic under control.
Still, some folks had to be disinvited, leaving it unclear who exactly among the celebrities that have been seen on Martha’s Vineyard this weekend actually attended the party.
That is, except for Badu.
Happy birthday, Mr. President.
Our invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.