Since her 1997 debut Baduizm, Erykah Badu has navigated showbiz on her own terms. The 45-year-old soul singer and Control FreaQ indie label head covered the FADER‘s Producers issue (Metro Boomin’ helms the publication’s other cover) where she offered her unfiltered thoughts on a range of topics from police brutality and politics to social media.
“I felt it coming on,” she said of the social response, including the Black Lives Matter movement, to police brutality and gun violence. “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 that album. So I don’t feel the need to write it now, because I got it out.” She added, “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.”
As far as other artists who rooting for social change in their music, Badu said, “I think it’s cool what Beyoncé’s doing. … Kendrick Lamar is consciously writing and effecting change by showing the other side of what happens in his community. Believe it or not, N.W.A started out doing that too. ‘Gangsta, Gangsta’ was actually a parody.”
The social media butterfly, who boasts 1.71 million followers on Twitter, also weighed in on political affairs. “Oh, I don’t believe in any of that shit,” she said. “I don’t know how much we have a say…It’s a show, it’s a game. On the smaller scale, I think that your city reps and district reps are very serious about what they’re doing, and then when they get up a little higher it becomes a show. Everybody gets kinda turned out.” As for controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump? “This is the craziest shit I’ve ever seen in my life. Is this real? But it will become a reality, if that’s what the plan is.”
In a separate piece, Badu discussed social media at length as well as her most recent e-controversy where she reacted to an article about a New Zealand high school lengthening the hemlines of female students’ skirts to minimize risk of misconduct among male students and staff. “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.”
Read the full feature here.