*It’s been a while since Erykah Badu released new music, but the Grammy-nominated songstress still has a lot to express while venturing in to other avenues of her creativity.
Among those who have taken notice is The Fader, which put Badu on the cover of its April/May Producers issue. Taking time out on the eve of her 45th birthday at her home in Dallas, Texas, Badu chatted with The Fader on the Black Lives Matter movement, Donald Trump, her journey toward becoming a midwife, co-parenting with André 3000 and her newly launched independent record label, Control FreaQ.
Below are highlights from Badu’s interview with The Fader:
On her recent Twitter controversy and relationship with social media:
“I was reporting, I was not supporting. It’s possible to understand the psyche behind behavior without condoning the behavior. I don’t have anything to apologize for. I don’t mean to take anything back…Expressing our pain and anger for something can make us very delicate. I’m very sensitive about it now—more than before. My whole objective is to create a dialogue. That’s always my main goal…I really enjoy writing and being able to get words out of my mind in a clear way, and I get to do that when I go on Twitter. I can push send knowing that I’ve clearly communicated what I was trying to say. I just pretty much tweet spontaneously. I view myself as an artist and an intellect, a sociologist, a self-scientist—meaning that I test my own theories by having conversations with others. It’s part of my job. It’s who I am, it’s what I do.”
On the talents of her kids, who speak many languages:
“I just wanted to make sure,” Badu says, “that whenever I take over the country, I have a secretary of state, defense, and a peace ambassador at hand.”
On anticipating social unrest and the Black Lives Matter movement:
“I felt it coming on,” she says…“I was really feeling a strong affinity toward writing about what was going on around me. And I actually wrote about what’s happening right now in [2008’s New Amerykah Part 1]. So I don’t feel the need to write it now, because I got it out…We can organize like a motherfucker when police beat us up. But can we organize to stop black-on-black crime, or poor-on-poor crime? Because, you know, poor is the new black. You don’t have to be black now.”
On Dallas and the Blues:
Much of this sensibility, she says, she owes to the absurdity that backlights the blues, one of Dallas’s great cultural inheritances. “That’s my roots,” she says. “We have a part of Dallas called Deep Ellum. Deep Ellum was a deep, rich blues part of town. It’s a dying art,” she says, but not at all wistfully. “It’s fine. It’s the way things are, and you evolve or you die.”
The Fader’s April/May Producers issue featuring Badu hits newstands on May 10. Click here for the rest of Badu’s interview, click here.