If there were ever a misleading headline, "Things We Can Expect From Erykah Badu’s One-Human Show" is it. We have no idea what to expect from Ms. Badu’s one-human show. Reason being? The artist herself isn’t sure of the show’s content just yet, as of a press conference held a couple weeks ago. We have some facts, though. The show is titled "Live Nudity," which is as catchy as it gets and undoubtedly conjures up memories of her 2010 music video “Window Seat,” in which she strips off her clothing at Dealey Plaza and re-enacts the assassination of JFK. The show’s three-night run begins at 8 p.m. tonight, October 29, and runs through Saturday, October 31, at the Naomi Bruton Main Stage. It's running in conjunction with The Dallas Black Academy of Arts and Letters’ 39th season.
As charming and funny as the Dallas-native and Queen of Neo-Soul always is, the flier for the show features two hilarious taglines: “Meditate on Deez,” and “partial proceeds go to badu private jet :)” Other than the info from the flier there’s not much else we can predict. During a press conference for the event, Badu insisted the show is not biographical, but rather stream-of-consciousness and will mostly consist of improvisation each night.
“Absolutely no night will be the same. There are two acts and a 15-minute intermission,” Badu says. “It just expresses the pure honesty of my many personas, so you are not coming to an Erykah Badu concert, where there will be a band and there will be singing. You can expect anything.”
This show has been a long time coming for Badu. Although she admits she’s feeling petrified, as she told Guide Live, to take the stage by herself and without the confidence booster of a band backing her up, this is something she’s been wanting to do for a while now.
“I’ve been putting it off for about two years and I just felt if I don’t do it, I’m just never going to do it. So I called Uncle Curtis [Curtis King],” Badu says. “I grew up here in this theater, and why not do it at home in the theater I grew up in? I felt like I could be a little less petrified here.”
She had gone as far as booking theaters in New York and Los Angeles to do the show before eventually backing out, but King, the founder and director of the The Dallas Black Academy of Arts and Letters, helped her stop the excuses and persuaded her to put the show together. From a small sampling of material Badu performed for King, he was immediately reminded of a performer of the same caliber as Ruby Dee.
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“Most of the time I'm a pretty spontaneous as an artist. All of sudden stars are aligned and things are coming to me, you know, and in certain ways,” Badu says. “Curtis has been super encouraging and reminding me that this is the way of the artist. So I had the fliers done and everything before I even knew what I was going to do.”
It’s a safe bet that Badu will be able to pull off one hell of a performance, considering that in her 20-plus year career she’s never disappointed us, whether she’s singing, DJ-ing, acting or trolling. The timing seems right for the show as it appears Badu is experiencing a creative flurry at the moment. Although it has been five years since her last official album release, earlier this month she released a remix to Drake’s buzzworthy “Hotline Bling,” called “HOTLINE BLING BUT U CAINT USE MY PHONE MIX,” that generated so much national attention it’s often referred to as being better than the original. Yesterday it was confirmed on Noisey that she’ll be releasing a mixtape of a similar name titled “But You Caint Use My Phone,” referencing the biting closing line to her 1997 hit-song “Tyrone.”
If that’s not enough momentum, Badu will host the 2015 Soul Train Awards next month on BET. Yes, she’s certainly striking while the iron’s hot. Tickets for her one-human show can be purchased here.