Erykah Badu's accomplishments as a local community activist and charitable giver are almost as well-known as her incomparable grace and style as a musical artist. And we're not talking about your everyday celebrity tax write-off kind of "charity." Badu continuously immerses herself in giving, knowing full well it's simply not enough to auction off a pair of shoes you wore to the Grammys once or write a check to some worthwhile cause every now and again just to keep your name in the papers.
She's spearheaded the preservation of historic city landmarks, arranged a slew of after-school outreach programs, organized countless concerts and events benefiting local schools and community centers, and assisted displaced Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the very moments after the disaster when the need was most dire. While other performers of equal or lesser caliber are using their star power to secure a private table at some chic Hollywood bistro, Badu pulls her weight to enlist the assistance of celebs such as Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey and musicians such as Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli and Prince to participate in fund-raising events.
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This week she welcomes her philanthropic friend Dave Chappelle as they perform at a fund-raiser for St. Philip's School and Community Center in South Dallas. The community center serves more than 700 neighborhood residents and their families, while the school sustains an enrollment of more than 200 Pre-K3 through sixth-grade students. Aside from providing a diverse curriculum and advanced learning environment, St. Philip's also strives to instill in its students both a sense of personal accountability and responsibility to their communities, virtues Ms. Badu knows more than a little something about.