All Articles Tagged "erykah badu"

Lessons From Erykah Badu And Janelle Monae On Black Beauty And Being Bold

June 30th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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And that's how you enter a room. #betgeniustalks #betx #myexperience #erykahbadu #janellemonae #attblogger

A video posted by MadameNoire (@madamenoiredotcom) on

When a woman glides into a room the way Erykah Badu did for her Genius Talk during the BET Experience in LA this past weekend, you know you better listen up.

Ms. Badu has always been unapologetically herself, which isn’t easy for a brown-skinned Black girl with natural hair in a world that hates those features — and even more difficult in an industry that says light, white, and tight is always right. And yet, we can now turn on our TV screens and see the second coming of Baduism embodied in Janelle Monae, which is why having these two on a panel sponsored by AT&T appropriately titled “Free To Be” was one of the best things to come out of Los Angeles Saturday afternoon.

The confidence these singers have isn’t easy to come by. In fact, when Genius Talk moderator Reggie Ossé of The Combat Jack Show asked the ladies how they do it — it being be their out-side-of-the-box selves — Janelle Monae said she almost didn’t, recounting how she debated succumbing to a more mainstream image when she was back in Atlanta trying to get discovered. Of course the way she’s currently embraced by the industry is a testament to her good judgement call, but beyond helping bridge the gap of what’s acceptable beauty, Monae said the heart of her movement is being true to self. “You have to live with you so you better learn to love you.”

 

Even Erykah Badu admitted doing things outside the norm doesn’t always come easy to her. “It’s not that I don’t experience fear, it’s that I understand fearlessness comes first,” she told the crowd, adding that “Everything we do in America as Black women or Black people is a political statement.”

One example of that bold fearlessness regularly on display these days is Black women’s decision to wear their hair natural, according to the lyricist. “We’re making a political statement when we’re wearing an afro or we’re wearing locs; we’re being who we are, especially in a society that does not encourage that part of our beauty.” Acknowledging that at the end of the day how one chooses to wear their hair is an aesthetic choice, Ms. Badu said, “It really doesn’t matter as long as you are clear about who you are.”

Being clear about who you are is an awareness Monae supports as well, admitting that before she achieved international fame she was hypercritical of other women who had large platforms they didn’t always use for the greater good, so to speak. Now in a position to assert her own positive influence on other women, Monae said she had to learn the truth of the matter is “Everybody’s purpose is not yours.”

Thankfully, Monae has made her purpose artistic expression in all forms which is why she signed four artists of similar mind — like “Classic Man” Jidenna — to her Wondaland records imprint. The young beauty also stated that as she continues on in her journey in the world of music she hopes to make another female artist feel the way Erykah made her feel when she came into the industry because “The best thing a woman can have is her sh*t together.”

Amen.

15 Celebrity Wedding Singers We’d Love

April 16th, 2015 - By Rich
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These celebrity wedding singers range from hip-hop rappers to Neo-soul stars to classic singers — some are still with us and others have crossed over but their legacy remains.

All images courtesy of WENN

15 Celebrity Wedding Singers We’d Love

Workplace Struggles: The Time My Boss Mistook Me For Erykah Badu

April 14th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Photo Credit: Karim Sadli

Photo Credit: Karim Sadli

To spice up an otherwise dull and uninspiring space, I’ve been known to switch the background image on my computer’s desktop at work.  I fill the screen with shots of my favorite music artists, faraway lands I’d like to visit, abstract goodness – things that make my heart smile.  Plus, I’ve got that whole dual monitor action going on so I can look over at one screen and be say, “Well, isn’t that pretty?” when I need a distraction. And I need a distraction often because my day job sucks.

Cue in the stunningly bad a** photo of Erykah Badu you see above. A 2014 Givenchy shoot for Purple Fashion Magazine, the pic is a perfect blend of sporty, glamorous elegance. I mean, the woman could rock a band-aid and call it fashion and we would all believe it.

My company’s new CEO, let’s call him Mark, a middle-aged White man who lives and works in a different state, recently visited the office.  This was not our first encounter. We exchanged CEO-employee appropriate pleasantries before: “How about this weather, huh?”  You know,

You know, ish like that.  As Mark made his rounds, he paused when he saw the image of Badu on my computer screen.  I should have expected an off-kilter remark on account of the image’s boldness, but I truly wasn’t prepared for him to ask me, “Is that you?” It sounded like less of a question, actually, and more like a statement. Dumbfounded and in no mood to call him out for being an ignoramus, I said a quick little prayer, took a deep breath and calmly corrected him. “It’s Erykah Badu,” I said. He replied, “Who’s that? I’ve never heard of her.”

As Mark made his rounds, he paused when he saw the image of Badu on my computer screen. I should have expected an off-kilter remark on account of the image’s boldness, but I truly wasn’t prepared for him to ask me, “Is that you?” It sounded like less of a question, actually, and more like a statement. Dumbfounded and in no mood to call him out for being an ignoramus, I said a quick little prayer, took a deep breath, and calmly corrected him. “It’s Erykah Badu,” I said. He replied, “Who’s that? I’ve never heard of her.”

Just kill everything inside of me, why don’t you?

Never mind the fact that Badu has been around for, like, eleventeen hundred years, won four Grammys, graced countless magazine covers, and given interview after interview.  I guess Badu’s music just hadn’t reached his corner of Mars yet.

More importantly, let’s bear in mind here that Erykah Badu and I look nothing alike. Trust me, we look nothing alike. Under other circumstances, I would have been flattered to be mistaken for the iconic beauty and soul maven, but this was a White man saying this, owner of a gaze that historically undervalues Black women. In that moment, I realized that the tired Black people look alike stereotype is still alive and well. To top it off, I was hit with a double whammy: I was being both seen and unseen at the same damn time. Allow me to explain.

Mark’s eyes saw an image of a Black woman. His mind thought, Nneka is a Black woman. Putting two and two together, he wrongfully equated that the two (the image of Badu and me in the flesh) were one and the same. He didn’t utter the stereotype out loud, but he may as well have. In that moment, he saw me solely as a color. These are the same eyes that fail to see Black women’s complexities, our differences, and our inherent, God-given beauty. Eyes that view us as homogenized, one-size-fits-all entities. A mindset that sees no problem in uttering statements like, “She’s pretty for a Black girl,” or that exoticize our so-called otherness. Limited scopes, narrow perspectives.

This all speaks to a much bigger problem found in white-dominated workplaces. According to the Black Women’s Roundtable 2015 Report, Black women in the U.S. with bachelor’s degrees are paid on average $10,000 less than White men with associate’s degrees. And according to a recent Essence Black Women at Work Panel, many Black women in the workforce are afraid of being labeled as the angry Black woman, so they won’t say anything when they find themselves in uncomfortable positions in the office. Mark’s mistake was a clear example of how Black women are often undervalued and unseen, a phenomenon that occurs both in and out of the workplace.

After Mark left, the room fell silent. My coworkers and I laughed and quickly bonded over the awkward exchange. Despite his mistake being an annoying one, Mark’s naivete and questionable comment didn’t keep me from posting and admiring Erykah Badu’s beautiful image on my desktop. And in it, I see all of the eccentricities that make Black women beautiful.

Black Girls Rock 2015 Really Rocked!

March 30th, 2015 - By Rich
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Over the weekend, I had the incredible pleasure of taking my little lady to the annual Black Girls Rock 2015 Awards show. As always, the gala in a celebration of “the brilliance of Black women,” was a remarkable display of the wondrous diversity of greatness that Black women have to offer.

It is for this reason that I will begin this tale at the end of the night.

My daughter, a now becoming a pre-teen, was in awe of all that she saw over the course of the evening and we talked about during the ride home. I told here, “You were in a room with the best of the best, from the young to the oldest in Black woman.” As I often do, I made sure she understood who she was looking during the night and why as well. I made her understand, that she belonged in that building. Of course she belonged – Willow Smith was in the house!

She then began to tell me all of the things that she wants to do and how she plans to do them. Obviously, I helped her tweak some of her plans, write them down and also finish her vision board.

During Black Girls Rock!, there was one thing that was for certain, all of these girls and women had vision. This year the honorees were as diverse as a proverbial rainbow. Here they are as follows:

– Cicely Tyson, Living Legend Award
– Ava DuVernay, Shot Caller Award
– Dr. Helene D. Gayle, Social Humanitarian Award
– Erykah Badu, Rock Star Award
– Principal Nadia Lopez, Change Agent Award
– Jada Pinkett Smith, Star Power Award

The hilarious part was that Michelle Obama blessed Newark’s NJPAC with her presence as well. The day before BGR, my daughter and I were watching an old episode of “Shark Tank” and The First Lady made an appearance. She said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Michelle Obama showed up to Black Girl’s Rock?” I kept the surprise to myself until the crowd went nuts and the secret service started to become evident.

Later in a show Mrs. Obama eventually delivered a speech that all should hear when the show airs nationally on April 5. “There is nothing more important than being serious about your education.That’s why I am able to stand here tonight,” she said. “I want every one of our black girls do to the same, and our black boys.”

She also spoke about young girls being silenced, conditioned to lack confidence, overcoming adversity and other important topics. BGR also does real work in the community and honored young women with their M.A.D. (Making A Difference) Girls honors as well. The First Lady brought the three young honorees on stage and they beamed with joy.
Beyond Mrs. Obama, the event was just incredible.

With performances by Erykah Badu, Fantasia, Sheila E!, Estelle, Jill Scott Lalah Hathaway, Ciara and others literally rocked. The audience was literally a sea of Black Excellence that extended beyond celebrities, which I stressed to my daughter. I made sure she listened to every single word that Cicely Tyson uttered, in a rousing, honest and passionate speech that will almost assuredly be edited for TV. I let her know she belonged here in the midst of all this greatness.

Lastly – even though it was stated throughout the program  – I let my daughter know who started all of this – Beverly Bond. It wasn’t BET, Viacom or some other corporate force. Beverly Bond, a DJ and model, started Black Girls Rock with a vision, which continues to grow. Oftentimes, children get caught up in the pageantry and sheen of celebrity, forgetting that big things happen with hard work, focus, dedication and vision. All in all, this wasn’t our first Black Girls Rock!, but it was our first together. We agreed this is the best one we’ve seen. There is so much more to say, but we’ll be talking about the inspiration we both got for a very long time.

Check out Black Girls Rock! on April 5th on BET.

PS. I tweeted a lot during the show, to my daughter’s disdain. Hey…I let her know it comes with the terrain sometimes.  Some of those tweets are below.

Whip My Hair: 15 Dramatic On Stage Celebrity Hairstyles

March 24th, 2015 - By Rich
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These celebrity hairstyles are so fun and funky and these stars love to go all out when performing for their fans!

All images courtesy of WENN

 

Whip My Hair: 15 Dramatic On Stage Celebrity Hairstyles

She “Tried” It: Azealia Banks Gets In Her Feelings During Twitter Feud With Erykah Badu

February 15th, 2015 - By Toya Sharee
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azealia banks gets into twitter beef with erykah badu

WENN

One of the problems with social media is that unless you’re Skyping, too many things are easily interpreted as “shade” or sarcasm. People can’t be honest about anything without the instigation of followers whose whole purpose of going on-line is to be entertained by the squabbling of celebs and no one can make a joke without following it with a bunch of smiley emojis to convey they’re ”just playing”.

Well Azealia Banks wasn’t feeling what Erykah Badu had to say about her music last Thursday as the two traded a few insults after Badu expressed that she “tried” listening to Azealia Banks. According to a a Vibe article, the exchange went a little something like this when a fan (@pradahungry) asks Ms. Badu if she ever listened to Azealia Banks:

“@pradahungry Does @fatbellybella listen to azealia banks? Always wanted to know.”

“@fatbellybella Tried”

“@AZEALIABANKS @fatbellybella @pradahungry lol, what’s the shade?”

Azealia apparently didn’t appreciate that Erykah Badu wasn’t giving her work raving reviews and accused the “Window Seat” singer of being jealous:

“@AZEALIABANKS When artists grow old and begin to recognize their own mortality they throw shade at younger spirits”

“@AZEALIABANKS We see it happen ALL the time.”

“@AZEALIABANKS Whether or not you like me… You are WATCHING, and that’s what’s most important.”

Erykah Badu didn’t get what all the fuss was about and cool, calmly and collected checked Azealia:

“@fatbellybella Well s**t  I did try. Maybe you’re right.. I’m just to old to get it. You cool tho?”

To which Azealia, clearly still in her feelings, responded:

“@AZEALIABANKS @fatbellybella I’m cool, I was just trying to make sure you were cool….”

“@fatbellybella @bhrisbrown lol you just keep rocking ur head wraps and buying ur musky oils off the table on 125th.”

The last comment was in reference to another fan (@bhrisbrown) who pointed out that Ms. Badu had her location turned on and was reppin “Queens”.

When will folks realize it’s OK for folks to not be a fan of your work and not be jealous or feel threatened by you. Everything is not a personal attack. If you can’t handle Twitter without your ego getting bruised, maybe you need to log out.

 

All Natural:15 Stars Who Gave Birth at Home

January 27th, 2015 - By Rich
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It’s really interesting to see how much being surrounded by loved ones and being calm at home were the prime reasons why these stars who gave birth at home, chose to do so.

Source Ranker, US Mag, Black Celeb Kids All images courtesy of WENN

15 Stars Who Gave Birth at Home

Badu Discovery: Watch Erykah Reveal her African Ancestry

November 30th, 2014 - By Rich
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Born in Dallas, Texas the “New Amerykah”  singer Erykah Badu  agreed to be included in OkayAfrica’s documentary series “The Roots of…” The mini-documentary partners with African Ancestry to trace the roots of each individual. While Badu, is known for her many inclusions of Afro-centric pieces and poetry within her music, the soul songstress admitted she was never really concerned with the details. As she stated she was,“satisfied with just the knowing that I’m part of the all.”

The series documents celebrities as they discover what part of Africa their ancestors originated from and it looks like Erykah’s sentiments have certainly changed! Other celebs that have participated include: The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams, The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams and Roots band members Questlove and Black Thought. Badu mentioned she recently received spiritual readings from shamans in Africa and was not so focused on her physical origin, but agreed to be a part of the series anyhow.

In the film, we see Badu take a Q-tip swipe of her DNA and hand it over to African Ancestry as they discover the region, country and tribe of her maternal lineage. An encounter with much extended family members and a baptism of sorts, places Badu in the center of her newfound people. Not only are introductions made, but Erykah has a new name to add to her already amazing roster: Badoula Oblongata, Sara Bellum, Maria Manuela Mexico, (yes, there’s more!) Annie the Alchemist, Analog Girl In A Digital World, DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown, She Ill, and last but certainly not least her Twitter handle Fat Belly Bella.

Yes, the Queen dons many names as varied as the soul music we’ve heard from her and it looks like this might be changing too as she went on to say, “my path is now different.”

“Being able to single out exactly where I walked, where my ancestors walked, what we smelled and what we heard or what attracts us to colors and fabrics. These are the things that I vibrate toward naturally,” she said while touching her new gifted pieces from her tribe.

Watch and see why the says she is now, “a better Erykah in Amerykah.”

After the shoot, Badu went on to South Africa to record her next album.

Have you considered doing the African Ancestry? We all know that we honor our history all year long and this could be just one more step in doing so.

Have you ever researched your DNA?

Erykah Badu And Daughters Sing Message Of Self Acceptance

November 12th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Erykah Badu And Daughters  Sing Message Of Self Acceptance

Source: Facebook

When your mother is Erykah Badu, people will be interested to know if you, her children, will be able to carry a tune. Well, a recent video the singer posted on Facebook proves that her daughters Puma and Mars can certainly sing.

In what looks like a rather candid mommy-daughter moment, Erykah, Mars and Puma are laying in bed singing Colbie Caillat’s “Try.” 

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a very inspirational song that reminds women that you don’t have to compromise yourself in order to be liked.

“You don’t have to try so hard, 

You don’t have to give it all away

You just have to get up, get up, get up

You don’t have to change a single thing.”

It also asks the very important question, “Do you like you?”

We don’t know what Erykah does with her children everyday but it’s really nice to see that her daughters, and other young girls across the country, are hearing and internalizing this message at such a young age.

Take a listen to the video below and tell us what you think.

How Much Did She Make? Erykah Badu Sings On The Streets Of New York For Money As A ‘Hustle’ Experiment

October 16th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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"Erykah Badu pf"

WENN

Though she could be in the studio creating the follow-up to New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), Erykah Badu is instead focusing her energy on doing experiments, funny ones, like singing on the streets of New York City for not only money, but to see what responses she can get from those passing by. When explaining her video (which was shot on her iPhone), Badu said that this isn’t supposed to be some deep commentary on the struggles of the homeless or performers who show off their talents to make ends meet. It’s just an idea she had for “entertainment purposes only” that she wanted to document.

“I just kind of always wanted to see what it would be like to sing for money on the streets. In no way is this video a reflection of my feelings about homeless or unfortunate families nor individuals who have no other means of survival in our world. Tho each individual set of circumstances is unique, We must all do our share in OUR WORLD. Instead this short film was shot w/ my iPhone and edited in iMovie for entertainment purposes only and serves as a personal ‘hustle’ experiment for me.”

And she’s not kidding. She’s not singing a particular song in a moving manner for pedestrians, but instead, makes up a song that I guess we can call “Give Me Your Money,” sings about not wanting to get a job all while joking with people on the street until they drop change in her huge hat.

The song went something like this:

Give me some money/Please, sir, give me some money/Sister, I need some money/Please, can you give me some money?/Haven’t sold a record in about two years/Haven’t sold a record in a long time/A b***h need some money.

Badu made some money, but it was only $3.60. But what’s interesting about that is if you’ll recall the lyrics from her debut single, “On & On,” Badu was “born under water, with three dollars and six dimes.”

I think she could have made a lot more if she wasn’t in Times Square wearing gold chains and singing jibberish. But I have to give her credit for putting herself out there. She definitely was entertaining. Check out the humorous clip for yourself below: