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Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

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Also Known As: Erica Abi Wright, Erica Wright Died:
Born: February 26, 1971 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Dallas, Texas, USA Profession: actor, singer, dance instructor, acting teacher, waitress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Originally part of a rap duo that landed opening slots on big name hip-hop tours in the mid-1990s, singer, songwriter and actress Erykah Badu watched her music career advanced rapidly, with just over two years elapsing from her late 1995 discovery, subsequent solo record deal, two successful albums and multiple 1997 Grammy wins. Incorporating blues, jazz, soul and hip-hop, Badu created a fresh, edgy sound all her own, smoother than her rap roots and earthier than the polished R&B popular on the airwaves. Caramel-complected, with expressive, heavy-lidded eyes, Badu, who often dons an Afrocentric regal headwrap, was a compelling presence, with a grace and style that matched her beauty. The evocative, "The Color Purple"-inspired video for "On and On" introduced audiences to the singer's onscreen vitality and magnetism. Her honeyed purr complemented the down-to-earth spirituality injected into her lyrics, and won the performer many fans, catapulting her debut album "Baduizm" to platinum status and garnering her two 1997 Grammys. The follow-up album "Live" was released that same year, making the most of her success. This offering featured the unique single "Tyrone", which advised the titular friend of her...

Originally part of a rap duo that landed opening slots on big name hip-hop tours in the mid-1990s, singer, songwriter and actress Erykah Badu watched her music career advanced rapidly, with just over two years elapsing from her late 1995 discovery, subsequent solo record deal, two successful albums and multiple 1997 Grammy wins. Incorporating blues, jazz, soul and hip-hop, Badu created a fresh, edgy sound all her own, smoother than her rap roots and earthier than the polished R&B popular on the airwaves. Caramel-complected, with expressive, heavy-lidded eyes, Badu, who often dons an Afrocentric regal headwrap, was a compelling presence, with a grace and style that matched her beauty. The evocative, "The Color Purple"-inspired video for "On and On" introduced audiences to the singer's onscreen vitality and magnetism. Her honeyed purr complemented the down-to-earth spirituality injected into her lyrics, and won the performer many fans, catapulting her debut album "Baduizm" to platinum status and garnering her two 1997 Grammys. The follow-up album "Live" was released that same year, making the most of her success. This offering featured the unique single "Tyrone", which advised the titular friend of her soon-to-be ex to come over and help his friend clear his things out of her house. Balancing frank and clever lyrics with a pleasant neo-soul sound, Badu's music was used to good effect in films including "Eve's Bayou" (1997) and "The 24 Hour Woman" (1998). In 1999, she released the single "Southern Girl" with rapper Rahzel and won a Grammy for her work on The Roots' track "You Got Me".

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Say My Name (2009)
4.
6.
 House of D (2004) Lady Bernadette
7.
 Cider House Rules, The (1999) Rose Rose
8.
 Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) Queen Mousette
9.
 9th Annual Lady of Soul Train Awards, The (2003) Awardee (The 2003 Aretha Franklin Award)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1985:
Began working as a rapper on a local radio station in Dallas
:
Formed the hip-hop duo Erykah Free with cousin Robert 'Free' Bradford
1994:
Recorded a demo with Legacy Entertainment
:
Was the opening act for Method Man, A Tribe Called Quest and Arrested Development
1995:
Signed a solo record deal with Kedar Entertainment
1997:
Released debut album, <i>Baduizm</i>
1997:
First TV role, appeared as herself in the FOX series, "New York Undercover"
1997:
Released second album, <i>Live</i>, featuring the hit single "Tyrone"
1998:
Feature film debut, played Queen Mousette in "Blues Brothers 2000"
1998:
Wrote and performed the theme song for the FOX sitcom, "Damon"
1998:
Performed as part of Lilith Fair, a touring music festival comprised entirely of female artists
1999:
Contributed the song "Your Precious Love" (a duet with D'Angelo) to the Marvin Gaye tribute album, <i>Marvin Is 60</i>
1999:
Co-starred in Lasse Hallstrom's "The Cider House Rules," playing migrant worker Rose Rose
2005:
Cast as a prisoner in David Duchovny's directorial debut, "House of D"
2006:
Featured in the musical documentary, "Dave Chappelle's Block Party"
2008:
Released first album in five years, <i>New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Grambling State University: Grambling , Louisiana -
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts: Dallas , Texas - 1989

Notes

Badu dropped the surname Wright when she was a teenager, looking to fully emancipate from her slavery roots. She adopted Badu because of the scat-friendly sound it had and later learned it meant "to manifest truth and light" in Arabic.

"John Irving was trying to say in "Cider House Rules" that each individual, every family and each culture has its own set of rules to live by, and no one can dictate what's right and what's wrong, because right and wrong is ultimately conceptualized by the creator." --Badu quoted in The Dallas Morning News, December 19, 1999

"We're in an era where most recording artists are actors and dancers . . . all of it is art to me." --Badu quoted in Daily News, February 6, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Andre Benjamin. Musician. Part of the hip-hop duo Outkast; born in 1975; father of Badu's son Seven; no longer together.
companion:
Common. Rapper.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Kolleen Wright. Actor. Raised Badu and her other two children alone.
son:
Seven Sirius Benjamin. Born on November 18, 1997, the same day that Badu's second album "Live" was released; father, Outkast rapper Dre (Andre Benjamin); Badu chose the name Seven because "it is a divine number which cannot be divided".

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