Erykah Badu: June/July Cover Story [Pg 3]
Did you have a strong sense of who you were when you first had Seven?
I was 27 when I had Seven. I was already a vegetarian. I had been for 10 years. I had started making choices that would shape me for the rest of my life. I never thought to measure by each child. My children are six years apart. It wasn’t planned, just how the relationships rolled out. I’ve had three unorthodox marriages of sorts. I’ve had the benefit of having substantial amount of time with people, mind-building time.
Why is the media so interested in the men you are with?
They don’t know. I don’t explain it so they don’t know what it is. I’m learning like everyone else. There’s no big magic. I don’t see what is so different than anyone else other than I didn’t get married with a piece of paper. If I did that, would it be different?
By definition you are a single mother. What prepared you for this role?
I was raised around strong women, hardly any men. If I could have fashioned it myself, I would have done the same thing again. Somehow, I have managed to achieve some balance. I am a single mother in a sense, [but] not really. Each of those children’s fathers is very present in their lives. I have picked amazingly wonderful partners. In the years that we were together, it was growing time, evolving time. I love to be partnered with people who want to evolve as human beings. At the point that their growth does not include me, then we break up, then we move. I write about it.
Jay Electronica is the father of your youngest child, Mars. You’ve been linked together for a while. What does that relationship mean to you?
Six years ago we met. I am a big fan and a supporter of his evolution and growth as an artist. I write all his rhymes. I’m joking. [Laughs.] I’m always amazed and impressed with the things he comes up with. He def does what a partner is supposed to do, that is, evolve you.
Where would you say you are now when it comes to love?
I’m in the best place when it comes to love and relationship. I’m in a wonderful space. I wake up every morning smiling. Pencil and paper in hand, ready to learn.
So . . .would you say you and Jay are in a committed relationship?
We just met, I can’t be telling you everything. He’s my best friend and I am his. I can say that much to you. He’s Mar’s father.
“I’ve had three unorthodox marriages of sorts. I’ve had the benefit of having substantial amount of time with people, mind-building time.” — Erykah Badu
IT’S APPARENT THAT those who exist within Badu’s fiercely tight and protective inner circle hold her in the highest regard. Each of them easily consider her to be a “genius” and gladly assist in making her passion come to fruition. The same respect and awe her friends and family have for her, she in turn has for some of her peers. She considers M.I.A.’s “Born Free” video genius. The 16 bars Lil Wayne dropped on her viral video/single “Up in the Air”? Genius. Her long-time friend and fellow musician, D’Angelo? Genius. Jay Electronica’s buzz with no record deal in place? Genius.
You’ve referred to a lot of people as “genius” during this conversation. It’s a pretty heavy word to bestow, no?
It’s a fine line between genius and insanity.
Do you ever look out into the crowd and wonder, “How do these people get me?”
I never underestimate the audience’s ability to connect. I think there are so many layers to art. You can peel back one or several and get into it. I think it’s all about the music. It’s the funk that brings the people. Like the flute that brings the mice. They like that “hump” and then the words. They get that a little later. ‘Cause I even learn something from what I’m saying later. It’s that thang. The groove of it.
Who pushes you when you can’t push yourself?
I haven’t experienced that yet. [Silence.] The thought of my children I guess . . . [Her voice trails off.] The thought of them watching. [She’s visibly thinking.] That was a good question.
Do you consider yourself to be a genius?
I’ve been told that. I don’t have a mechanism in me to agree or disagree. What I have in me is a gift. It’s effortless. I do what I feel, pick out the colors I like, moan the way that feels best and wale like my life depends on it. V