DFW Music News

Erykah Badu Schooled the Internet This Week, For Better and Worse

Before this week, it had been weeks — literally weeks — since we'd had a reason to write about Erykah Badu. Frankly, we were getting a little worried. The singer of a thousand names had been relatively quiet since throwing her 45th birthday bash at The Bomb Factory in February, but she came back with a vengeance this week.

It wasn't always pretty. From a school cafeteria cameo to a schoolyard fight on Twitter, we got the full range of Badu extracurriculars these past few days.

Things started innocently enough on Monday when video hit the Internet of Badu making a surprise appearance at Malcolm X Shabazz High School's cafeteria in Newark, New Jersey, back in 2014. While standing in the hallway, the video shows the incognito Queen of Neo-Soul mischievously telling a teacher, "Let's see if they know who I am. Don't introduce me."
Judging by the shocked looks on the kids' faces, more than a few of them knew who she was. (Not to be overlooked, however, is the fact that this lunch room was already blasting Next's "Wifey" before she entered.) Anyone who did know Badu probably wasn't surprised at what came next, as she proceeded to climb on top of a table and serenade the room with her song "On and On."

It turns up Badu had been at the school to speak to students about education, but that part of the backstory got a little lost because of what happened next. Within hours of the cafeteria video appearing she was stirring up some real controversy. In a lengthy series of tweets, the Dallasite sided (well, kind of) with a New Zealand school that mandated longer skirts for female students "to keep from distracting boys and male staff."

Her rationale, which made allusions to the well-being of her two young daughters, quickly turned into a rumination on human nature and male sexual urges:

At the time, Badu alluded to opening a "dialogue" about the topic and invited in both male and female respondents. While plenty of people supported her take, plenty of others were not on her side, accusing her of victim shaming and having "antiquated" views. The "dialogue," in fact, still hasn't stopped. Somewhere in the midst of all that debating, Badu managed to find time to patch up an ongoing feud with fellow rapper Azealia Banks. The feud had been triggered all the way back in February 2015, when a Twitter user asked Badu if she listened to Banks' music and Badu replied, "Tried." The two artists hadn't been on speaking terms ever since, but that apparently changed after another Twitter user suggested the two try patching things up on Tuesday.

Banks didn't seem willing at first, referring to Badu "hating on" her, but Badu offered up the olive branch.  Which did the trick. "Okay I accept and unblocked," Banks responded, adding, "My mother will be happy about this." All of which goes to show, anything can happen when Badu is around. As if we didn't already know that.
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Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage