Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Erykah Bad-who?

For over 10 years, now, I’ve always shunned the entire notion of Erykah Badu, dismissing her as far too pretentious to become highly invested in. The hair. The outbursts. The stunts. The speeches. The unwillingness to compromise just for the sake of uncompromising. She always looks so mad, too. Yeah, you probably couldn’t find a bigger fan of soul music (especially female soul music) than me. But there was always something tremendously off-putting about the singer that warranted no justification from my end.

This only really leaves us with one question now: Why do I love her so much?

Well, to begin that answer, you may have to open the pages to one of the latest issues of Rolling Stone. Thrown in the issue, right behind the incredibly awkward “we really want to be brilliant with this piece, but it’s just not working” article on “Glee,” a two page profile was given to the Dallas, Texas, native (Side: Anyone else think it’s odd to have only one female writer on staff? Seems like Jenny Eliscu is thrown everything “woman” these days). Spare the My Morning Jacket quotes, and what you have is an introspective piece that showcases an individual who you can’t help but like upon finishing your reading.

Yes, I know the writer’s job oftentimes tackles the "like the artist" factor quite a bit, but where I find myself scratching my head is when I read her quotes, and find myself understanding (and agreeing) with some of what she’s saying. I know. It's scary.
Lately, she’s been thinking that life is a long “process of elimination, of unlearning,” it reads.
Now, tell me that ain’t the truth. It continues…
“My uncle said, ‘Like I told you when you were little: Whatever you want to be, that’s what I want you to be. And if you don’t want to be shit, I don’t want you to be shit.’ It was hilarious to me. What that means is he knows that my life doesn’t belong to him, it’s all a part of my learning. When I look at my grandma, she does the exact same thing every day, and she’s so much at peace. Sometimes, I try to adopt her pattern of thinking. There’s an old woman inside of me that’s so cold-blooded that I can’t wait to meet her.”
See. She seems pretty neat, doesn’t she? Even more, this all comes after a lengthy section that sees Badu disagree with talking politics. “When we were talking about politics, it didn’t feel useful. We don’t know what the agenda is. I don’t have enough data, so I can’t really say,” she said when probed about her feelings on people rallying against one another through a political realm.

Maybe this is a sign of maturity, or maybe this is a sign of change. Or maybe, well, maybe my prejudices weren’t justified, and I always played her off as someone who sees herself as a little more important than she actually is. Regardless, it gave me a new artist to explore, and pretentious or not, grown up or childish, poofy hair or pulled-up hair, there is no denying performances such as this…

Yep. It’s love.

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