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 Bares It All in 'Window Seat'
Erykah Badu
Youtube.com
In March of 2010, Erykah Badu released the music video for 'Window Seat,' the lead single from her fifth studio album, 'New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh.' In the video, the Dallas native walks the streets of her hometown stripping off her clothing until she's completely nude at the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The song ends with the sound of a gunshot, and Badu falls to the ground. A pool of blood pours out from Badu's body and spells out "groupthink."

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.

Hip-Hop's Most Eligible Single Baby Mama
Erykah Badu
WireImage
Erykah has dated some of hip-hop's finest. Her roster of famous boyfriends include OutKast's Andre 3000, Common (with whom she collaborated on the Grammy-winning hit 'Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)'), the D.O.C. and Jay Electronica. When talk-show host Chelsea Handler admitted that she herself had a thing for black rappers and asked Badu for advice on how to bag one, Badu jokingly responded, "I'm not going to give you any advice. I want them all. Why would I give you advice?"

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.

Vocal Vegan and Holistic Healer
Erykah Badu
WireImage
In 'Green Eyes,' from 'Mama's Gun,' Badu sings, "My eyes are green 'cause I eat a lot of vegetables." Badu, who has become very outspoken about her vegan lifestyle, told VegNews back in '08, "Vegan food is soul food in its truest form. Soul food means to feed the soul. And to me, your soul is your intent. If your intent is pure, you are pure." Stating that it's only natural to feed her three kids as she feeds herself, she is raising them as vegans and teaching them the importance of having a healthy body. Badu is quick to point out that she doesn't force her lifestyle on her kids and has full confidence that they will know how to take care of their bodies with vegetables, preventative medicine, water, rest and healthy activity in the future.

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.

Black Pride
Erykah Badu
WireImage
Erykah Badu was born Erica Abi Wright, but changed Erica to Erykah, because "kah" is an Arabic syllable which translates to "can do no wrong." Badu is a name of Ghanaian origin, which the artist adopted to replace what she believes is her slave surname. Early on in her now 15-year career in music, Badu was known for her sky-high African head wraps and was crowned the "Queen of Neo-Soul." By 2008, Badu rejected this title and the genre in its entirety stating, "Neo-soul is dead. I never knew what that was anyway." Badu also shocked fans and followers of the natural-hair-movement, with which she was long associated, when they found out that her Afro was actually a wig. Badu also debuted a super-straight, bleach-blond faux-hawk at last year's Lollapalooza performance. Despite changing her iconic head wrap image and divorcing herself from the neo-soul genre, Badu continues to throw her support behind black culture.

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 ... "

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Erykah Badu at 40

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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Matt Jelonek, Getty Images

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu performs on stage during the Good Vibrations music festival at Claremont Showgrounds on February 20, 2011 in Perth, Australia.

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu performs during the Soul Train awards Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 in Atlanta.

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu performs at the 2010 Hennessy Artistry concert series at Cipriani Wall Street on October 14, 2010 in New York City.

Erykah Badu at 40

Singer Erykah Badu performs onstage at Credicard Hall on August 29, 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu performs at Chene Park on August 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.

Erykah Badu at 40

Musician/vocalist Erykah Badu performs in concert during the 2010 Lollapalooza festival in Grant Park on August 8, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu performs during her "Out My Mind, Just in Time Tour" at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort June 24, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Badu is touring in support of her new album, "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh."

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu visits BET's "106 & Park" at BET Studios on March 29, 2010 in New York City.

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu performs live at The North Sea Jazz Festival, Ahoy, Rotterdam in Holland on July 11 2009

Erykah Badu at 40

Erykah Badu (L) performs on stage with Snoop Dogg during Bonnaroo 2009 on June 14, 2009 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Erykah Badu at 40

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