Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

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Erykah Badu (born Erika Abi Wright, 26.2.1971) Erykah Badu is a widely respected American singer. Her songwriting combines elements of hip-hop, soul and jazz. She is sometimes referred to as The Queen of Neo Soul. She has also acted in a number of high profile films, including The Cider House Rules.

Childhood: Erykah Badu was born in South Dallas, Texas, to Kollen Maria Gipson and William Wright Jr. She was raised by her mother, after the father left the family whilst his children were young. Kollen was an actress and subsequently, Erykah had her first taste of show business at an early age, appearing with her mother at the Dallas Theatre Centre at the age of four.

As a teenager, Erykah would freestyle for her local radio station, along with the likes of Roy Hargrove, the jazz trumpeter.

Badu attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. When she graduated, she went on to study theatre at Grambling State University. In 1993, she left university, in order to concentrate full-time on her music as well as teaching drama and dance to children at South Dallas Cultural Centre.

Erykah Badu recorded a 19-song demo with her cousin, Robert 'Free' Bradford, entitled 'Country Cousins'. As a result, Kedar Massenburg (ex-president of Motown Records) set up a duet between Badu and D'Angelo to sing 'Your Precious Love'. Eventually, she signed a deal with Universal Records.

Musical Career: Erykah Badu's debut album, Baduizm, was released in 1997, to great critical acclaim. It debuted at number two on the Billboard chart and the lead single 'On & On' was a Top 20 hit in the UK and the US. Her singing style drew instant comparison to Billie Holiday. The album was awarded triple platinum status and became a Grammy award-winning album.

Badu's second album, Live, was recorded whilst she was pregnant with her son Seven. The album's release coincided with his birth. The track 'Tyrone' became an R&B hit. Erykah also recorded with The Roots on their breakthrough album, Things Fall Apart. She sang on their song 'You Got Me', which was co-written by Jill Scott.

Erykah Badu took a couple of years off from her career to focus on motherhood. Her 2000 return was Mama's Gun, produced by the Soulquarians and Pino Palladino. The album was another critical success for Badu and the song 'Bag Lady' was nominated for a Grammy. She then collaborated with Common of the Soulquarians (with whom she was in a relationship at the time) on 'Love Of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop) which was included on the Brown Sugar soundtrack. Badu won her fourth Grammy for the song.

Following tours in 2002 and 2003, she returned to the studio and recorded Worldwide Underground, She received a further four Grammy nominations for the work, which featured contributions from Queen Latifah and Angie Stone as well as production credits for Dead Prez and Raphael Saadiq.

Badu took another break from her career, during which time she gave birth to another child; her daughter Puma. In 2007, however, she revealed that she had three albums in the pipeline. In November 2007, her single 'Honey' (produced by 9th Wonder) was leaked onto the internet. The subsequent album, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) was released on her birthday, 2008. Later that year, she joined the band My Morning Jacket onstage in Dallas, Texas.

Acting Career: Erykah Badu has appeared in a number of films, including Blues Brothers 2000, starring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and Joe Morton. She also starred in the Oscar-winning Cider House Rules, with Michael Caine, Charlize Theron and Tobey Maguire. In 2004, she appeared in David Duchovny's directorial debut, House of D. the film also starred Robin Williams and Frank Langella. Erykah Badu was also one of a number of artists to appear in Dave Chappelle's Block Party.

Personal Life: Around the time that her debut album was released, Erykah Badu entered a relationship with Andre 3000 of OutKast. She had a son with Andre, named seven, born in 1997. In the late 1990s, their relationship ended.

Between 2000 and 2002, Erykah Badu dated the rapper Common.

Badu has a daughter, named Puma, born in 2004. Puma's father is The D.O.C.

Badu's third child, Mars Merkaba, was born in 2009, fathered by her boyfriend of five years, Jay Electronica.

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Erykah Badu seen on the red carpet at the 2016 Soul Train Awards held at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas,, Nevada, United States - Monday 7th November 2016

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Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu Throws Some Serious Shade At Iggy Azalea During Soul Train Awards

Erykah Badu Iggy Azalea

Erykah Badu was the host for the 2015 Soul Train Awards on Sunday evening and the veteran singer certainly wasn't shy about voicing her opinion on one Iggy Azalea. In her opening monologue, Badu threw some serious shade Azalea’s way, telling the ‘Fancy’ hitmaker, “what you doin' is definitely not rap.”

Erykah BaduErykah Badu hosted the 2015 Soul Train Awards on Sunday evening.

"As you know, I am the queen of neo soul and people say I have this common effect on rappers: that I make them change gods and wear crochet hats, shoulder pads," Badu began her monologue.

Continue reading: Erykah Badu Throws Some Serious Shade At Iggy Azalea During Soul Train Awards

Michelle Obama Gives Impassioned & Encouraging Speech At Black Girls Rock! Awards

Michelle Obama Jada Pinkett-Smith Erykah Badu Cicely Tyson Angelina Jolie Ava DuVernay Beverly Bond

Michelle Obama continued spreading her message of education whilst attending the Black Girls Rock! awards ceremony on Saturday (28th March). The First Lady gave an impassioned speech at the event and encouraged the audience, which included many young black girls and women, to have self-confidence, ignore any discouraging voices and continue in their education.

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama speaking at the Black Girls Rock! awards ceremony on Saturday.

See More Pictures From the Black Girls Rock! Awards Ceremony.

Continue reading: Michelle Obama Gives Impassioned & Encouraging Speech At Black Girls Rock! Awards

Red Bull Music Academy Festival Set For Ultimate Closing Party In New York

David Byrne Panda Bear Erykah Badu Questlove Frank Ocean Common

Firstly, we recognise that reporting on a mixture of New York parties, eclectic performances and signature lectures from prominent music movers and shakers could seem, well, immaterial. Let's face it, Gotham is one long eclectic party - but the Red Bull Music Academy Festival is different. The Academy itself, which took place in New York in 2013 and will visit Tokyo this fall, is a travelling series of music performances, club nights, lectures, workshops, art installations and more founded in 1998 - it doesn't look to create "stars" (despite notable participants including Aloe Blacc, Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Juan Son), instead it looks to bring together music makers from around the globe. Think of it as a mobile behemoth of culture, skills and sound. 

A Class Of Its Own: Red Bull Music Academy Festival's Closing Night

The newly created 'RBMA Festival ' - now taking place annually in New York City - is a legacy to the critically acclaimed Red Bull Music Academy that took place in New York in 2013. It is a month-long blowout that brings together a diverse group of the world's most creative young musicians. Since May 1st, this year's programme has blanketed the boroughs with a selection of richly curated events - and you're invited to the ultimate wrap party. But more on that soon. 

Continue reading: Red Bull Music Academy Festival Set For Ultimate Closing Party In New York

Janelle Monáe "Genuinely Inspired" By 'Electric Lady' On Latest Album

Janelle Monae Erykah Badu Prince Miguel

Singer Janelle Monáe has dropped her sophomore album, Electric Lady, following on from 2010's debut The ArchAndroid. The 27 year-old, who has become famous for her distinctive glamorous tuxedo style, has carved out a musical niche, widely described as a cross between funkadelic soul and futuristic R&B: a rather unique sound that is no less evident and enthralling on her latest record.

Janelle Monae
Janelle Inspired Herself With Her Latest Album.

In response to the question "Who are the electric ladies in your life?" in an interview with NPR, Monáe explained that "Electric Ladies cannot be marginalised.[they are] community oriented." Similarly, speaking to MTV News, Janelle spoke of the album's themes and direction: "This album isn't to be marginalized. It is of hope, of inspiration and of love," she said adding, "It is to encourage a million electric ladies to build and come into existence, and 'electric lady' does not have a particular skin colour or hair texture but our communality is community and wanting to nurture the community and knowing that we have to be the change."

Continue reading: Janelle Monáe "Genuinely Inspired" By 'Electric Lady' On Latest Album

Cedric The Entertainer Steals The Show On BET Red Carpet (Video)

Cedric The Entertainer Steve Harvey Laz Alonso Jimmy Jam Debra Lee Wayne Brady Lisa Leslie MICHAEL LOCKWOOD Halle Berry Gabrielle Union Chaka Khan Alicia Keys Brandy Erykah Badu

You can always rely on Cedric The Entertainer to get the red-carpet rocking ahead of an industry bash. Real name Cedric Antonio Kyles, the American actor and comedian showed up at the 2013 BET Honors last week to really liven things up! The Steve Harvey Show alum looked in his element posing for photographers and chatting with fellow guests.

It was a typical grand entrance from the funny-man, though the waiting press pack were perhaps more keen to snap Avatar star Laz Alonso, who also attended the event, and Anthony Anderson from All About The Andersons. Other high profile arrivals included R&B and soul producers Jimmy Jam and Terry lewis, BET chairman Debra Lee and Ava Coleman, Whose Line Is It Anyway? comedian Wayne Brady and WNBA player Lisa Leslie and husband MICHAEL LOCKWOOD.

Continue reading: Cedric The Entertainer Steals The Show On BET Red Carpet (Video)

Erykah Badu Sunday 27th June 2010 Lilith Fair 2010 Calgary, Canada

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh Album Review

The queen of 'neo soul' is back! Her unique jazz voice, likened to Billie Holiday and sassy lyrical integrity has made her popular worldwide and amongst many different types of listeners. This album has certainly been selling well. She is an undeniable talent and has a great voice. Indeed for many it's a welcome return and great to be once again hearing Badu back in the room!

Continue reading: Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh Album Review

Erykah Badu Monday 4th August 2008 The 26th Annual Martin Luther King Concert Series held at Wingate Field Brooklyn, New York City

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu Monday 4th August 2008 performs live as part of the Martin Luther King Jr Concert Series at Wingate Field New York City, USA

Erykah Badu

Black Thought and Erykah Badu Friday 9th May 2008 Black Thought and Joy backstage at Erykah Badu's 'New Amerykah Tour' at Radio City Music Hall New York City, USA

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu Quick Links

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Erykah Badu

Date of birth

26th February, 1971