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Essence May 2014 Cover Girls Erykah Badu and Ledisi share the importance of inner beauty this Wednesday at Essence’s New York event “Journey to Beautiful.”

The evening’s host Pamela Edwards-Christina, Essence’s beauty and style editor, asked Badu and Ledisi how they learned to embrace their own idea of beauty and what inspires them.

“Beauty is your smile and your smell — but in order to be smiling, you have to be smiling on the inside,” said Honey singer Badu. Ledisi spoke of something as simple as her Aunt’s red shoes. 

“My mother told me I was the best. She told me I was the best when I was about 8 years old, and that was a very powerful message,” 43-year-old Badu told The Huffington Post. “And I’ve used that message all my life. I believed her.”

Outside of the neo-soul Goddess and multi-Grammy nominee, the dinner and panel hosted beauty and fashion editors including Mikki Taylor, Tai Beauchamp and Alexis Stoudemire, Demetria Lucas and “Orange Is the New Black” actress Danielle Brooks.

The Huffington Post talked with both of the belting divas on what beauty advice has been passed down to them from their mothers.

“My mom always said to me, ‘Be yourself. No matter where you go, always be you and be honest with yourself about who you are. And be happy. Always remember to be happy. And if someone tells you you’re not pretty, then call me,'” Ledisi told HuffPost.

Ledisi’s hit “Alright” was actually written after having a heart-to-heart with her mother as the singer dealt with her fare share of issues regarding beauty in the music industry.

“I had a conversation with my mom, and I said ‘Mom, I’m going through some things and I want to quit the music business. I’m not fitting in,'” Ledisi told HuffPost. Ledisi’s mother made sure she knew that even though life might be hard right now, everything would be “alright.”

Ledisi and Erykah Badu are coveted for their beauty, voice and being able to define a lane on their own in the industry.

Ledisi is currently on tour, to find out when this (better than) “Alright” songstress is coming to a town near you, check out And, while the Next lifetime singer has been doing many international shows we’re looking forward to a home line up from her soon, until then find her at this year’s Essence Music Festival.

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