Erykah Badu fabulously tip-toes the line between eccentricity and insanity. Dallas knows this. The world knows this. Miss Badu herself knows this. I mean, the woman just announced a line of vagina-scented incense and people barely raised an eyebrow at the idea. She’s known for her personality almost as much as she’s known as the champion of neo-soul. She can go years without releasing new music and continue to bring out huge crowds to her concerts. She can even deliver babies! Whether you’re a lifelong fan or a skeptic, you have to agree that she’s a force of nature and a legend.
She’s also remarkably ageless. That being said, she starts her 49th trip around the sun on February 26, and the annual Badu Birthday Bash returns to the Bomb Factory this Saturday. She’ll bring out a cast of supporting characters and give Dallas fans the gift they really want: More Erykah.
Saturday’s concert will include appearances by Thundercat, Tierra Whack, Francis and the Lights, Trap Boy Freddy, dancer Storyboard P, Michelle Gibson, and others.
If you haven’t been to a Badu Birthday before, know that this is not a proper, full-out concert. Each act simply plays a song or two and keeps it moving along. Until it comes to the birthday girl–it’s her party and she can be late if she wants to. Usually, you can expect a surprise visit from one of her famous friends (Dave Chapelle is a regular at the event). Tickets are technically sold out, but there are some official resale tickets available from $75.
So, in honor of the anniversary of the mythical creature that is Miss Erykah Badu, let’s take a look back at some of her most memorable moments. And don’t forget to read Zac Crain’s 2017 profile of her.
The aforementioned incense. On February 20, the musician is launching Badu World Market, an online store for clothing and accessories, apothecary goods, and other merch–including the already-infamous incense named Badu’s Pussy. The singer told 10 Magazine, “I took lots of pairs of my panties, cut them up into little pieces and burned them. Even the ash is part of it.” We can’t wait to see how her team handles the product description for that one. Badu’s Pussy will be available to the general public in just a couple days.
The “Window Seat” video. Back in 2010, Badu caused a stir on- and offline when she stripped down in the streets of Downtown Dallas while filming the guerilla-style music video for “Window Seat.” It wasn’t her nudity that sparked a reaction, but the fact that she was using Dealey Plaza and the site of Kennedy’s assassination as her backdrop. There were some minors around, but she told the Dallas Morning News, “I tried to telepathically communicate my good intent to them. That’s all I could do, and I hoped they wouldn’t be traumatized.” Despite Badu’s best efforts, a mother who witnessed the event with her children filed an indecency complaint a few days later.
That time she saw the good in Hitler. Empathy and compassion are almost always a good idea. Almost. Always. However, when Erykah started empathizing with Hitler and Bill Cosby during a 2018 interview with Vulture, the internet shut it down pretty quickly. Badu isn’t the type to hang onto regrets, though, and she later made it clear, “I’m not sorry I said it.”
The failed kiss with Mario Diaz. 2014 brought us one of our favorite, most bizarre Badu moments. The artist made a surprise appearance on a local New York news live broadcast when she snuck into the shot, smiled at the camera from under a massive, white hat, and attempted to kiss the reporter, Mario Diaz. He put out a hand to keep her at arm’s length and she quickly retreats. It was weird, and lucky for you, it’s on the internet forever now. Enjoy.