Today (24 January), Vulture published a sprawling interview with Erykah Badu, in which the R&B star makes some unusual comments. Among the topics broached are her ability to see good in everyone – including Hitler – her mystical persona and how being a Pisces has shaped her views.
In 2008, the singer allegedly called Louis Farrakhan a “superhero” and a “beautiful, brave being”. Upon being asked about her support for Louis Farrakhan, and his alleged anti-Semitism, Badu says she chooses to “see all sides simultaneously.”
She states, “I said I’ve appreciated what he’s done for a lot of black Americans. I mean, I’m not Muslim, I’m not Christian, I’m not anything; I’m an observer who can see good things and bad things. If you say something good about someone, people think it means that you’ve chosen a side.”
“I’m not an anti-Semitic person. I don’t even know what anti-Semitic was before I was called it. I’m a humanist. I see good in everybody,” she adds.
Furthermore, following her ethos of considering multiple perspectives, she states she “saw something good in Hitler” and calls him a “wonderful painter”. She speculates, “He had a terrible childhood. That means that when I’m looking at my daughter, Mars, I could imagine her being in someone else’s home and being treated so poorly, and what that could spawn.”
The singer, however, does realise that her opinions may not be popular and links her views to being a Pisces. “We want to live a certain way or do a certain thing, and we don’t because we are emotionally attached to how the group thinks. The hive mentality takes over. But you know what’s right in your mind and your heart, and if you’re strong enough to detach from the hive then sometimes, just sometimes, you may be able to do the right thing,” she says.
Elsewhere in the interview, she references Jordan Peele’s Get Out, saying that her “quasi-mystical sorceress” image doesn’t mean she’ll be taking “rappers to the sunken place” anytime soon.
Last year, it was announced that Badu had curated the fourth instalment of an ongoing series of Fela Kuti box sets. Entitled Fela Kuti Box Set #4, the collection of vinyl reissues was released on 15 December via Knitting Factory Records. On Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show in December, she covered Kuti’s Sorrow, Tears and Blood.
You can read the full interview on Vulture.