Erykah Badu is a neo-soul singer, songwriter, producer, and activist. She is considered and referenced by many as the “godmother of soul” and an R&B deity. She often delivers social or political messages through her music platform, which never fails to invoke thought. Badu sees herself as a humanist, which only makes it harder to believe she would make such comments on Hitler.
Erykah Badu came under attack by fans, activists, and human rights groups alike back in January 2018. During an interview she had with Vulture, she alluded to empathizing with Hitler, claiming she saw “all sides simultaneously.” Badu continued, arguing that Hitler was a good painter and that she saw good in him.
Her statement came as an insult to all Jews and victims of the Holocaust, and naturally sparked anger which noticeably brought down her popularity. What Badu said put many into shock as she was seen as someone who embodied feminism, spirituality, and activism by many, including me. She has been attributed for the use of the word “woke” and was even the woman of honor at the 2017 Essence Black Women In Music event, in which Solange paid tribute.
Erykah Badu conducted another interview with The Guardian on May 24 — an opportunity for her to clear the air and apologize for what she said. As I read the interview, it was evident that this was not the case. Erykah Badu irrefutably refused to apologize. She stated that she did not regret anything in addition to the claim that she would not take it back, as it was a “message of love.”
How could someone empathize with someone solely responsible for the death of 6 million Jews and one of the worst genocides this world has seen? I find anyone sending messages of positivity or love supporting people like Hitler, to be sending extremely hateful messages instead.
This isn’t the only time Erykah Badu has stirred up controversy. In the same interview in which she saw good in Hitler, Erykah Badu also told Vulture that she couldn’t be angry at Bill Cosby for drugging and raping girls on the sole notion that he could be “sick” and “hurt”.
She also once performed at the birthday of King Mswati III. Typically, this isn’t an issue, except these days, most kings aren’t accused of “imprisoning and torturing activists,” as well as ending all political parties in their country. Erykah responded to criticism of this, stating that she shouldn’t be held accountable because she “signed up as an artist, not as a political activist” and shouldn’t have to worry about political tensions.
Despite being an acclaimed humanist, Erykah Badu involves herself in actions that seem to send almost hateful messages to victims.
Maybe it’s time people stopped praising her and started recognizing that her morals might not support everyone as she states, and that she isn’t as “woke” as everyone thought.
Cover Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons