Baduizm: An A-Z Guide To All Things Erykah Badu


This year ESSENCE will honor Ms.Badu at our annual Black Women In Music event. To celebrate we take a look at the tidbits and fun things we've learned about Badu throughout the years.

Sydney Scott Feb, 01, 2017

For ESSENCE’s 8th annual Black Women In Music event we felt that there was no one better to honor than Erykah Badu, the iconic neo-soul singer whose music has inspired numerous artists and fans. 

Badu introduced the world to her style with Baduizm, her Grammy-winning debut album, and ever since she’s been making her mark in the industry. The ceremony will take place Thursday, February 9 in Los Angeles, but until then, we’ve got an A-Z guide to Badu, her music, and the things that make her magical.  

A is for “Appletree,” the third single from Baduizm

B is for “Bag Lady,” a chart-topper that earned Badu two Grammys.

C is for Colon, her favorite body part.

D is for Doula. Badu received her certification in 2011. In 2015, she told Sway that she’d helped deliver 40 babies since becoming a doula.

E is for Earth Wind & Fire. The singer told US Weekly that the group’s album That’s the Way of the World was one of her all-time favorites.

F is for Fun-loving. Badu has an amazing sense of humor. She’s crashed news broadcasts and busked in Times Square, singing “Give me some money,” which earned her four dollars.

G is for Grammys, of which she has four. Badu’s Baduizm earned her a Best Album win with the album’s single “On & On” picking up one for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1998. She has a Grammy for “Love of My Life (And Ode to Hip Hop)” and earned another after teaming up with The Roots for “You Got Me.”

H is for HBCU. Badu attended Grambling State University before pursuing music.

I is for “I Love My Boyfriend,” which was later changed to “I Love Jesus.” Badu’s mom told Okayplayer that the singer used to write and record songs at her Ganny’s — what she called her paternal grandmother — on a piano.

They recorded a song called…what was the name of it? Some boyfriend song about love, ‘I love my boyfriend.’ I love something..and the grandmother didn’t approve of that ‘cause she was a church lady. They had to change the lyrics to ‘I love Jesus.’

J is for Jill Scott and Queen Latifah, with whom she formed the Sugar Water Festival. Started in 2005, the festival was designed to bring awareness to health issues African American women faced.

K is for Kolleen, her mother and the muse behind “Ms. Jackson.

L is for “Love of My Life,” which we sing every time we hear it. 

M is for Mars, her superfly mini-me.

Mars And Amerykah #MommyMonday's

A video posted by THE UNICORN (@erykahbadu) on

N is for neo soul, of which she’s the queen.

Jerod Harris

O is for “On & On,” which we play on repeat.

P is for Puma, who’s as talented as her mom.

Puma Badu ❤️💜❤️💜✨✨✨✨✨❤️💜✨✨✨✨12

A video posted by THE UNICORN (@erykahbadu) on

Q is for Questlove, her Soulquarian friend. 

R is for Rappers, she’s dated very cool ones — Andre 3000, Common, The D.O.C., and Jay Electronica — there are even jokes about the effect she has on them, but the singer says she’s learned a lot from them too.

I learned just as much from them as they learned from me. I’m a cold motherf–ka though. But the people I’m with are cold too, they’re a reflection of that. Become a cold motherf–ka and the motherf*cka will just come like magnets.

S is for Seven, who makes his mom proud every day.

T is for “Tyrone,” an iconic gem.

U is for Unicorn, because she’s one-of-a-kind.

V is for Vegan. The singer has practiced a meat-free diet for more than two decades.

W is for “Window Seat,” which caused quite a stir.

X for Xtal, short for Crystal. Badu loves crystals, once telling a fan on social media that “Crystals hold the memory of this planet.” She also swears by crystal deodorant, telling The Breakfast Club:

You have to stroke underarms 100 times on each times. But then you don’t have to put no more on for three days. I swear to God, Jesus, and two more white people. I should have a seminar for that because it’s giving the rest of us “earthy” people a bad name. If you don’t know how to use your rock deodorant do something different. It’s a crystal, it’s an actual crystal. It neutralizes the skin. It has to send a signal to the big brain so neurologically you can stop being musty.

Y is for “You Got Me,” a song she worked on with The Roots. It won her and the group a Grammy. 

Z is for Zen. Badu find peace through meditation, yoga, and different exercises that help keep her focused and at peace.