Grammy-winning artist Erykah Badu gave a group of fifth graders from St. Phillips School, Prestonwood Elementary and Holy Trinity Catholic School in Dallas the surprise of their lives on May 13. Badu stopped by the International House of Blues Foundation’s “Blues SchoolHouse Program” to teach the children examples of how the blues influences contemporary music. The surprise was coordinated by Badu’s own “Beautiful Love Incorporated Non-Profit Development,” a charity organization she created to provide community-based programs for inner city youth. Many may not remember that Badu was once a teacher before her musical career took off.

“Blues music tells the story of important events in our history,” said Badu, whose own music is a mix of soul, hip-hop and jazz. “It is important for young people to understand the origin of the music that is such a big part of their everyday lives. If they don’t know and understand their heritage, they’ll lose it.”—WLW