Erykah Badu at 40: Style Icon, Mother and Provocateur
In celebration of Erykah Badu's 40th birthday, The BoomBox brought you the best of Badu's music videos, and we continue our ode to the potent singer/songwriter with a look into the artist's equally captivating public image and personal life. We're highlighting her evolution from neo-soul sister to hip-hop head, as well as her famous baby-daddies, her roles as single mom and vocal vegan, and the infamous 'Window Seat' video controversy.
Badu took to her Twitter page to explain that the video was "shot guerrilla style, no crew, 1 take, no closed set, no warning, 2 min., Downtown Dallas, then ran like hell." While Badu said the video was a metaphor for groupthink, a type of conformity, the impromptu performance was met with controversy and mixed reviews from fans and critics. Filming without prior permission and stripping down to her birthday suit in front of children rubbed some people the wrong way. Badu claims that she didn't expect to be demonized over the video, although she cannot deny that it was her intention to make a statement and grab people's attention with her shock-and-awe routine. On April 2, 2010, Badu was charged with disorderly conduct for public nudity, a class C misdemeanor -- a charge that she challenged when she pleaded not guilty. Badu eventually paid the $500 fine and agreed to serve six months' probation, which she completed in early February.
All jokes aside, her relationship with Andre produced her oldest son, Seven Sirius. Daughter Puma Sabti was fathered by the D.O.C., and Jay Electronica is baby daddy to her youngest child, Mars Merkaba. While she makes sure that her former boyfriends are actively involved in their kids' lives, Badu rules the "womb-iverse" and holds it down as a single mama in her Dallas "queendom." With strong female role models in her family to reach out to for guidance, Erykah balances her career with raising the kids, all three of which -- including 2-year-old Mars -- she home schools herself. Badu has stated that a lack of participation in kids' schooling is the worst parenting practice in America today.
In addition to her 11 years of veganism, it has been reported that Badu is also pursuing a certification in Reiki, a Japanese-Buddhist practice of stress relief and healing through the palms. The singer also sees patients as a licensed holistic health practitioner. In 2009, Badu tweeted about the natural home birth of her third child between contractions. Sans hospital, drugs or doctors, the holistic mama had her two older children watch the sacred birthing of their sibling.
In response to the changing hip-hop scene, Badu was not at all shy about venting via Twitter. "How y'all gone stand by and let our music turn into pop techno cornball ass music?" she wrote. "These rappers ought to be shame of they damn selves, I'm talkin bout the mc's rappin over this pop techno music. I believe in pimpin the system but got DAMN! not like this ...I like the idea of no distinction in race when it comes 2 music, but SOULkeepers, U dont give up the boom bip and the hump 4 the payday. I love house and techno as a side dish. But now it's served as the main course AND that's ALL u gone get. like chittlins in the back house. I love music PERIOD. just not ready to say goodbye to the boom bip and the hump ... "
In celebration of Erykah Badu's 40th birthday The BoomBox brought you the best of Badu's music videos, and we continue our ode to the potent singer/songwriter with a look into the artist's equally captivating public image and personal life.
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