In­ter­na­tional celeb – Erykah Badu

ERYKAH BADU, 46, launched her ca­reer 20 years ago with her iconic al­bum, Baduizm. Years later she re­mains a pi­o­neer.

True Love - - Content - BY PHILA TYEKANA

The day of 11 Fe­bru­ary has seen its fair share of iconic mo­ments: in 1990, Nel­son Man­dela was re­leased from Robben Is­land af­ter serv­ing 27 years in prison. In 1994, the late singer Prince pre­miered his clas­sic hit song, The Most Beau­ti­ful Girl in the World. In 1997, a 25-year-old Erykah Badu re­leased her ground­break­ing de­but al­bum, Baduizm. At a time when the likes of Brandy and Mon­ica were mu­sic’s IT girls, Erykah emerged as a breath of fresh air. Quirky and ethe­real, she donned a head wrap and long flowy dresses. She also gave us a new sound: neo-soul that fuses jazz, hip hop and R&B. Tracks such as On and On, Next Life­time and Other Side of the Game car­ried the themes of black pride and self-love. That’s what Erykah did – she pi­o­neered a new mind­set and be­fore we knew it, doeks and dread­locks be­came cool again. Prov­ing her prow­ess, Baduizm went on to win two Grammy Awards for Best R&B – beat­ing es­tab­lished artists like Whit­ney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Boyz II Men – and Best R&B Fe­male Vo­cal for On & On. And who could for­get global breakup an­them Ty­rone? In a re­cent in­ter­view, the singer re­flects on the Baduizm al­bum: “I just wanted to share how I felt and hope that I could spark feel­ings in oth­ers. I thought it was more of a move­ment


for cre­ativ­ity and self-ex­pres­sion. I take my time and write what I feel. If there’s noth­ing to say, then I don’t have any­thing to write.” Three years af­ter Baduizm, the songstress re­leased Mama’s Gun, World­wide Un­der­ground,

and New Amerykah Part One and Part Two fol­lowed in 2008 and 2010, re­spec­tively. In 2015, ‘Kween Badu’ dropped her re­make of Drake’s Hot­line Bling, which made part of her mix­tape, But You Caint Use My Phone. Two decades later, Erykah re­mains un­apolo­getic about her eccentric sound and im­age, and has gone on to gar­ner even more accolades. A true ca­reer chameleon, we’ve seen the artist host a TV show, pro­duce, and per­form in the Lone Star Cir­cus. She also be­came a cer­ti­fied doula (a woman who sup­ports and ad­vices women dur­ing and af­ter birth), and her clients call her Erykah Badoula. When it comes to her own chil­dren – Seven Sir­ius, 20, Puma Sabti, 13, and Mars Merk­aba, 8 – Erykah raises them as a sin­gle par­ent. The kids have dif­fer­ent fa­thers, An­dré 3000 of OutKast, The D.O.C and Jay Elec­tron­ica. Speak­ing to Peo­ple, she said: “No one chooses to raise chil­dren alone.” To the

Tele­graph she said, “When you’re in a re­la­tion­ship you want it to work. But we’re not taught how to make it work. We aren’t taught about hu­man in­ter­ac­tion, about re­la­tions with the op­po­site sex.” De­spite that, the songstress in­sists she has many women she looks up to for in­spi­ra­tion and sup­port. “I come from a long line of strong ma­tri­archs. I live in a queen­dom, ruled by a womb-iverse. My ma­ter­nal grand­mother’s ad­vice is: ‘Keep liv­ing — it’ll come to ya.’ My pa­ter­nal grand­mother says: ‘Just let God do it.’” In turn she de­scribes the woman she is as one that has “gone through much heartache, enough to ded­i­cate my whole life to try­ing to fig­ure them out,” and that mu­sic has been a great re­lease. “Be­ing hon­est is my job,” she ex­plains. “That’s what mu­sic is for me.”

The three baby-dad­dies are all very much in­volved with co-par­ent­ing with her. Speak­ing to Cele­bric­, Erykah said, “In­fi­delity is not a deal-breaker for me. We’re all born sex­ual be­ings. I my­self am not some­one with a very high li­bido. I don’t re­quire sex for hap­pi­ness – I need com­pan­ion­ship. I need a part­ner I can de­pend on, that I can love and grow with. But I do un­der­stand the na­ture of these men I’ve been with, and men in gen­eral. They have a need to chase.”

On peo­ple judg­ing her on hav­ing more than one baby daddy, the singer isn’t shy to re­tal­i­ate: “Ev­ery re­la­tion­ship I have been in was be­cause I loved the per­son dearly and I was ded­i­cated to us ex­clu­sively for a num­ber of years. The fa­thers of my chil­dren are my broth­ers and friends, we have a great deal of re­spect for one an­other and al­ways will.” Erykah re­mains a hope­ful ro­man­tic and re­cently an­nounced the new boo in her life is pro­ducer and writer, Carl Jones.

When you’re a star of this cal­i­bre, con­tro­versy will ac­com­pany your jour­ney. For her 2010 mu­sic video for

Win­dow Seat, Erykah is seen un­dress­ing while walk­ing through down­town Dallas. As she’s about to get com­pletely naked, she’s shot dead in the head in the video, fall­ing in the same spot as for­mer Amer­i­can leader, Pres­i­dent Kennedy in 1963. She was charged with dis­or­derly con­duct for ap­pear­ing nude in pub­lic and slapped with a R6 500 fine. Un­de­terred, the artist (who de­scribes her­self as a ‘mother first’) is still a tour­ing artist, giv­ing fans all over the world a taste of the Baduizm we’ve come to know her for: au­then­tic­ity.


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