In the video for her new single, Window Seat, 39-year-old singer Erykah Badu walks through the busy streets of her native Dallas taking off her clothes item by item until she’s naked.
When she reaches the grassy knoll near to where John F Kennedy was assassinated, a “shot” rings out and she collapses.
The video has already become an internet hit, attracting over 300,000 views on You Tube – and the attention of the Dallas police, who have charged the singer with disorderly conduct for “disrobing in a public place”. One of the most interesting and iconoclastic figures in popular music, she was born Erica Wright, but rejected this as a slave name, choosing the new version after a jazz scat: “shu-badu-badu”.
I watch Bad Girls Club just to see how ignorant these little girls act. The girls on this show stay fighting over nonsense and ganging up on girls just because they want fame, popularity and of course more camera time.
We exchanged numbers and conversed for a minute, then we just so happened to be in L.
We’re still getting to know each other, which is hard living in two different states, but it’s all worth it I think. We enjoy our personal lives outside of the fame sometimes I forget we’re both well known!
We’re both genuine and that’s hard to find now a days.
This lush, elegant record, with its barefoot feel of Seventies hippydom and ineffably laid-back rhythms, spawned a movement, nu-soul, and with it a hundred imitators.
Many of those have since faded away; Badu, now a mother of three children by three different hip-hop stars, gets stronger, and indeed daffier, with every new release.The latest is New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), the successor to her universally acclaimed New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) from 2008.Coming up with the titles alone must be an exhausting business, but these are both richly rewarding albums. I did maths, science, English but we weren’t taught about human interaction, about relations with the opposite sex.” Is she suggesting schools give boyfriend lessons? Badu’s own father left home when she was a child, and she and her brother and sister were raised by her two grandmothers and her actress mother: “I come from a long line of strong matriarchs,” she says, adding, “I live in a queendom, ruled by a womb-iverse,” which baffles me momentarily. I don’t require sex for happiness – I need companionship.They hang together as coherent works, in the manner of classics from the days of vinyl. Badu still lives in the south Dallas neighbourhood where she was raised. I need a partner I can depend on, that I can love and grow with. Mind you, I have friends who are in polygamous relationships - they’re no more happy or sad than we are. “I made sure I didn’t put together a collection of 99-cent i Tunes songs,” she says, as we begin our interview in a hotel near Trafalgar Square. Here she makes her music, grows a bit of marjoram in the garden, and invests much of her money in the Beautiful Love Incorporated Non-profit Development fund, which provides theatres and academies for local children. “My maternal grandmother’s advice is: 'Keep living – it’ll come to ya.’ My paternal grandmother says: 'Just let God do it’. But I do understand the nature of these men I’ve been with, and men in general. “I made sure I did a project in the tradition of the beautiful music I grew up listening to. She makes no eye contact, instead focusing on a clump of knotted necklaces the size of a tennis ball, which she attempts to untangle for the entire duration of the encounter. I’m a woman who has gone through many heartaches, enough to dedicate my whole life to trying to figure them out. That’s what music is for me.” With all those rap-star lovers, is it infidelity that has caused her heartaches? They have a need to chase.” And do you tolerate it? I’m having to recondition my brain, ’cos the first thing I got was a doll named Barbie and she had Ken and that’s how it was supposed to be.