Erykah Badu

This has been a pretty interesting week for #BlackTwitter. Just days after the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen forced many to engage in yet another conversation about how traditional feminism often leaves out the voices of women of color while expecting our support, and Jamilah Lemieux kicked off #BlackPowerIsForBlackMen, which prompted many to share the ways in which Black women are often forgotten (or unsupported) by our brothers, Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital released the “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” which spat in the face of one of the biggest icons of Black history (and sort of proved that Black power is indeed for Black men).  In the midst of the heavy conversations, exposed concerns, and sometimes hurt feelings, Global Grind (which is also owned by Simmons) ran an article about Erykah Badu’s legendary dealings with rappers.

While the article, “Badu’s Voodoo: Erykah Badu & The Effect She Has on Rappers (Kendrick too),” was written in jest (and most certainly inspired by Kendrick Larmar’s verse on “No I.D.”, his monstrous shot across the bow of nearly every rapper in the game), it once again reiterated the notion that every mistake, misstep, and questionable choice a man makes is because of a woman.

Brittany Lewis writes:

Erykah, Erykah, Erykah. Man, there’s just something about Erykah Badu.

Don’t know if it’s her energy or her spirit, her mesmerizing eyes or her deep soul, but whatever mysterious qualities Erykah Badu possesses, they’re magical.

Over the past year, Kendrick Lamar has expressed his desire to creatively work with the legendary soul singer, and at this year’s BET Awards, he finally got his wish. The unlikely pairing teamed up to perform Kendrick’s GKMC banger “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” and of course, Erykah killed it (in a good way).

Shortly after their performance, rumors began to swirl that the two artists were romantically seeing each other (both denied those allegations), but after hearing Kendrick’s “Control” verse, he must’ve picked up on Miss Badu’s infectious spirit.

Lewis then goes on to recount Badu’s relationships with rappers Andre 3000, the D.O.C., Common, and Jay Electronica—pinning their questionable fashion choices, change in musical styles, and delayed album releases on Badu’s supposed “voodoo” (want another take? Peep this 2007 article my girl Renina Jarmon shared on Erykah’s ‘Baduism,’ which was called a “musically transmitted disease.”)

While it’s easy (and fun) to crack jokes on Common’s knitted sweaters and Jay Electronica’s near disappearance from rap after being hailed as the second coming of Nas, “blaming” Badu for the failings of her former flames is indicative of how women have been seen (and written about and treated) throughout history.

Jezebel. Delilah. Medusa. The mule of the world. Every Tyler Perry movie ever. Women, and particularly Black women, have bore the brunt of responsibility for the downfall of men for centuries.

In the Bible, Delilah’s greed nearly took down the strongest man in history, Eve got us all kicked out of the garden, and Salome was blamed for having Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, beheaded. Fast forward to the present day, and women who are victims are often made the scapegoat when the sh*t hits the fan–Anita Hill was bullied for trying to “take down” a Black man in line for a seat on the Supreme Court; Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape, was called a liar; the 11-year-old gang rape victim in Cleveland, Texas was said to be too fast for her own good; and Rihanna was blamed for being assaulted by her ex, because you know how West Indian women are. I could go on.

What happened to personal responsibility? What happened to men (and women) taking ownership of their personal failings instead of blaming them on someone else?

Why are women always to blame when a pastor or married man or politician falls from grace?

While Erykah Badu may be an amazing woman or lover or mother or artist or whatever, she is not to blame for the career missteps, crazy outfit choices, and album delays of her mates. If anything, they should be asking for her advice, because since she burst on the scene in 1997, Badu’s released six albums, sold millions, birthed three babies, been a practicing doula, crisscrossed the world, reinvented herself countless times, and is one of the best-looking 42-year-olds I’ve ever seen.

If Badu’s voodoo is real, dudes should cover themselves with it and hope their career is as dope as hers.

  • bob

    this is going to be a nice bait article for arguments, jezebels are jezebels , some women have contributed to the down fall of men and vice versa , this is just fact to say its just one parties fault is foolish. k-fed contributed to the downfall of britney bobby did to whitney. You are responsible for yourself , but that does not mean that someone did not manipulate you or steer you to the edge so that you can jump off the cliff.

  • Jn

    In spite of the article’s headline, I kind of tool the article itself to mean that Erykah had a positive, not negative, effect on the men she dated, not so?

  • Cocochanel31

    I’m sure the mentioned artilce was written in jest..let’s not take everything so literal LADIES! Outside of her “cool vibe” has anyone seen Badu’s DONK LATELY??? In the words of Phyllis Yvonne Stickney..there is “power in the BOOTY” ‘ HENCE ONE OF THE REASONS brothas looove them some Ms. Badu! lol

    She’s pu**whipping these men plain and simple..women have been doing it for ages…

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    I’m pretty sure I said the article was in jest,

    “While the article, “Badu’s Voodoo: Erykah Badu & The Effect She Has on Rappers (Kendrick too),” was written in jest (and most certainly inspired by Kendrick Larmar’s verse on “No I.D.”, his monstrous shot across the bow of nearly every rapper in the game), it once again reiterated the notion that every mistake, misstep, and questionable choice a man makes is because of a woman.”

    But I find it ironic (and you’re proving my point) that you said Badu is “pu**whipping these men plain and simple”, as if they just have NO power to cope with her magical vajayjay after she’s slept with them. lol.

    ~britni

  • Cocochanel31

    I guess I’m saying I don’t think it’s that deep..lol. Love/lust is a helluva drug! All of us have fallen for someone once or twice non-intentionally, and have done some crazy things!

    She is probably the Queen of the mind fawk…kanyeshrug

  • http://twitter.com/rakillers the miller (@rakillers)

    This twitter worriers are really funny and sad at the same time. Is this what social justice movement come too ! At Least in may day we knew how to stage a demonstration.

    BTW; Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape, was called a liar BECAUSE SHE LIED. She also got away with falsely accusing a man of rape. That is what you call female privilege.

  • Perspective

    “Badu splits her time between Dallas and the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.[30] Badu has three children. Her eldest child, fathered by André 3000, is a son named Seven Sirius Benjamin, born in 1997.[8] Their relationship inspired him to write the song “Ms. Jackson”. From 2000 to 2002, she dated rapper Common. On July 5, 2004, Badu gave birth to a daughter, Puma Sabti Curry, in her Dallas home; Puma’s father is West Coast rapper The D.O.C., who is originally from Dallas. On February 1, 2009, Badu gave birth to her third child at home, a girl named Mars Merkaba Thedford, with her boyfriend of five years, rapper Jay Electronica.[31] In attendance were her two children, Puma and Seven.[32]“

  • PGS

    I’m not sure what she needs to be held accountable for.

    Not wanting to get married? Not being with one man forever and ever?

    Is she asking you (or the government) to help take care of her children? No.

    Does she have a supporting & loving co-parenting relationship w/ each kid’s fathers? Yes.

    Does it work for them? Seems so.

    So, what’s your problem again? She’s not married?

  • AnnT

    …ONLY black women….

    LOL
    Heidi Klum
    Puff Daddy
    Oscar De La Hoya
    Mick Jagger
    Or we could just name all the Black male athletics with multiple kids by multiple women, but I’m mobile…

  • PGS

    I’m so glad your Wikipedia copy & paste skills are up to par. We wouldn’t know she had 3 babies by 3 rappers!

    Thank you!

  • -A.

    1. Anyone who thinks this is limited to only black women is living their life with blinders on.

    2. I wasn’t aware that a woman wasn’t allowed to have more children after a failed relationship. What is the world coming to?

  • vintage3000

    I love Erykah’s music, sense of humor, her stage presence and would love to own some of her wigs.

    The only reason why she continues to have this specific allure you reference here is because of her 3 rapper baby daddies. Which is her business of course, but let’s not pretend that’s not a factor in her appeal to these men who have appointed her ill na na as legendary.

  • Anthony

    P###y Whipping is real. One of my best friends in graduate school left a number of men totally psyched out. She was not super pretty, she did not have a killer body, but she had a nice personality and apparently she ruled n****s in bed! Every man I have ever known of her bedding took years to get over her (she was a free spirit, and was not about to be tied down.)

    The funny thing is that when we first met, she asked me out, but I ended up not getting with her for some reason. Although I was curious about her bedroom skills, I’m glad we stayed friends after seeing how the other guys flaked out!

  • Z

    Because Dominique Strauss-Kahn has since proven himself to NOT be a liar as well as paragon of sexual, economic, legal, ethical, and moral values.

  • Tony

    “What is the world coming to”

    I don’t know about the world but this country is going to turn into the typical dysfunctional, crime ridden, poverty stricken, unproductive black ghetto. If all woman think like Badu that having multiple babies by multiple men without marriage is acceptable and not a problem. Every single black ghetto in this country has proved that IT IS A PROBLEM.

  • Cocochanel31

    My point exactly. .noone goes into it wanting to be whipped..ish happens..and we can tell Ms. Badu is very free! lol

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    For some reason this just seem like people jumping on a bandwagon. One rappers shot out a woman then all the others follow suit. It’s crazy follow each other when it comes to liking a women or having sex with her.

  • miele

    Wow this guy tony and perspective are back full force.

    They r just proving the articles point. The demise of the black family is the black woman fault bc she is of loose morals. Tricking these pious men with their feminine wiles :)
    Looks like s*it aint changed

  • AnnT

    Perspective
    Instead of actually addressing the issue, you just move the goal post to another topic that is only tangent to the central argument.

    As many times as Black women get blamed for the failure of our community by men and other Black women? OK
    I don’t co-sign isht,
    Stop projecting your hurt feelings and mommy issues on me. You literally made up entire story about me in your head.

    How in the Hale are you gonna berate single mothers who take the reign BY DEFAULT and still refuse to acknowledge the lack of Fathers who are suppose to be parenting as well.

  • noirluv45

    “Jezebel. Delilah. Medusa. The mule of the world. Every Tyler Perry movie ever. Women, and particularly Black women, have bore the brunt of responsibility for the downfall of men for centuries.”

    May I add single mothers to this list.

    Several weeks ago, there was a conversation about black single mothers who were responsible for their grown son’s problems. Instead of these grown men taking responsibility for their actions, many blamed the single mothers. I was thumbed down many times because I said we’ve got to stop this b.s.

    I said then that I’m sick of black women being blamed for the failures of some of our men. They need to own up to their mistakes whether they had good mothers, bad mothers, or were in good/bad two-parent homes.

    Hopefully, this article may wake us up. I, and no other black woman, should be responsible for anyone but ourselves and our underage children. If you were a bad parent, yes, then admit it, but there comes a time when we have to stand on our own two feet.

  • Miakoda

    “All of us have fallen for someone once or twice non-intentionally, and have done some crazy things!”

    No, not all of us.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bre.solmone Bre’ Solmone

    Oh, just thank you for this article. Thank you so so much. And the comment that this does not only pertain to the Black community is so right. Women have been witches, whores and temptresses since the beginning, unfortunately, and in every community. However, I think it’s more annoying when Black men complain about Black women. Do we not have enough on our plate without you telling the world we’ve emasculated and ruined you? Could you maybe take responsibility for your own hand in the outcome of your life? Instead of joining in the world wide, centuries long beat down that we have been receiving, can you possibly help us up or land a punch on the other end? I just never understood how that could be so hard. Then again, I do have a different view from under your foot.

  • AnnT

    Your aquaintences sound like feral animals incapable of controlling their faculties. They’re the first ones to say a woman trapped them or rely on “Hoes Be like…” IG pics to express themselves. Good you didn’t smash like your homies, but those boys will bring you down by affiliation.

  • AnnT

    ughh. I should have ignored him.

  • Anthony

    @AnnT, I have been out of graduate school for twenty years, and none of my friends boyfriends were close friends of mine. I only knew two of them at all. It was my female friend who kept me up on the drama when we would talk, usually at dinner or lunch every so often.

  • http://thesweeterthejuice.tumblr.com Joy n L.A.

    Love this Brittni!

  • Lisss

    Aside from several misunderstood biblical references, i totally agree with this article.

  • bob

    the blame on women for the destruction of the black community is because women are the gate keepers when it comes to sex and who is killing all those black babies, with abortions, havin unprotected sex when they know they cant aford kids. Its a womans body and her choice , when you make the wrong choices you will be held accountable for them. buuuyaaaakaaaaaaahhhh

  • Darcy

    If that is true then men are supposed to be the protectors. Then men should be committing, seeking wives and not baby mommas. That means men should be stepping up. It takes two. Men have options as well to not impregnate the women you claim have “destroyed” the black community. I get confused because one minute black women have too many damn kids and the next they supposedly don’t keep their kids and have abortions. Which is it? I guess it depends on the person reciting the statement’s agenda.

  • Darcy

    Exactly. We are stigmatized while everyone else gets a free pass to live life, make mistakes and be merry.

  • Darcy

    Both sexes are responsible for preserving the family unit. It seems to me even the man runs off (as I’d common in the black community) the woman attempts to work hard for their kids. In this world men still are the leaders of relationship norms and define if marriage, hit and quit etc. is the norm. Sure women have free will, but you can’t fix what isn’t there. More black women want and expect commitment/monogamy than black men. When will the men step up?

  • part1ne

    Erykah Badu definitely has a certain “something” about her that drives her exes batshit. I can see the humor in noticing this only because lots of people I know that have followed her career have come up with the same conclusions independently. It’s fun to laugh about from time to time.

    As for the more serious context of women in general being held accountable for the failings of men, like most things in life, the truth of that isn’t absolute. It all depends on perspective. In any misconduct involving more than one person where consent is required, blame for such misconduct should be distributed accordingly, i.e. Anthony Weiner is dead wrong for sexting after his first scandal. However, Sydney Leathers is a bird for trying to claim victim like she didn’t willingly engage in this and then chose to expose their relationship and hurt his family just for a come-up. It wasn’t about warning voters or his wife, she wanted to be famous. The flipside to men being held responsible for their actions when they consent to engaging in dubious behavior, only to be burned by it later, is for women to do the same. Surely everyone on this thread has at least one story of a woman who knew better than to mess with a certain man based on his track record, but did it anyway. Said man stays true to form and does something dickish and the woman is consoled with gems like “Men ain’t shit”, “He’s just a dog” etc. Where does the woman in such cases get to take responsibility for making a bad choice based on her knowing better at the time?

    When people behave badly, we should all be honest about it and recognize that there’s plenty blame to go around.

  • Risse

    “If Badu’s voodoo is real, dudes should cover themselves with it and hope their career is as dope as hers.” LOVE IT!!!!

  • AnnT

    Don’t know how else to say this wi/o sounding condescending, but good for you.

  • Boobeescoot

    “Why are women always to blame when a pastor or married man or politician falls from grace?”

    Not for nothing, but if I go to church and hear, “women, cover yourselves; these men are trying to be faithful to their wives” one more time…
    In general, men are still expected to be the initiators. Can’t speak from experience, but I imagine that infidelity requires willfull, deliberate effort on the dude’s part. That statement uttered by the preachers assumes that women have some remote-control boxer-brief droppers issued at puberty that overrides our free will. Not saying that religion/Christianity is the cause of the “blame women” default in our society, but I would name it as a factor.

  • GeekMommaRants

    It seems by some of the comments here, that women are the head of the family, providers and protectors. One would think that men are large boys to be ordered about and judged solely on their sexual abilities.

    Secret – I as a woman, DO NOT consider myself EQUAL to men. NO, NOT AT ALL! Perhaps, some believe that men and women are the same. I do not!!!

  • Anthony

    @AnnT, you do not sound condescending. You sound like someone who does not what to say because a story does not fit your preconceptions.

    I simply talked about a woman who has a great deal of charisma in and out of bed that was very hard for her former lovers to forget. Women often write about the difficulties in moving past relations that ended for one reason or another. It seems that there are women who do not want to accept that men may have a hard time moving beyond relationships too.

    P-Whipping was the term I used, but sex was likely just one part (even if it is a big part) of why men can find it hard to move beyond certain women. The bottom line is that men and women both can get caught up emotionally and find it hard to move on. Men simply express it much differently than women.

  • A fan of critical thinking

    So it seems the article states that erykah Badu or women on a whole can do no wrong…

    Maybe if we specify the failings of these said men can be the influence she gave- in creating music knowing they dont have thesame skill level there.

    That’s why when she worked with Questlove or D’angelo, it worked..

    Commons album (electric….) may have been better if he stayed in his musical lane. Erykah understands music in the way that it is created…Common had his opp. but he slipped. But she did play an influence on him.

    If anything Erykah was a bad advisor. She could’ve directed him in the creative level (and I think Aquarius gave hints to that) but for whatever reason it didn’t work.

    Lyrically Common is nicer, he undestands the power of the written word whereas Erykah is a bit more esoteric.

    If we specify, which this article doesn’t, we may perhaps see its a bit nuanced then SHE IS THE BLAME OR SHE ISN’T THE BLAME.

    And I love her music.

  • Shana

    I think something can be said about white women and solidarity and feminism… Historically, our issues were not the same as those of white women.They were very close to that of Black Men. Why we decided to side with the ‘Lady of the House ‘rather than ur husbands, is beyond me…

  • Tee tee

    Respectability politics. It’s not ok for a black woman to do this, even though she and the men it seems are taking care of the kids and all get along. Do and be damned, don’t you will be damned black woman. damnneedddd!

  • Tee tee

    ANN T – Words out of my mouth! Black women will get blamed even though they are the only ones who showed up! What the actual frack in hell? smh

  • erica

    Great article! I felt as though this article could use more material though. It seems a bit short.

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