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Kedar Records

Erykah Badu's 'Baduizm' Is Still Genre Bending And Defining 20 Years Later

Twenty years after Erykah Badu's release of Baduizm, our favorite analog girl in a digital world continues to leave us in awe.

It's widely accepted that black women are strong, but seldom, if ever, do black women get to be free. In 1997 with her debut album Baduizm, Erykah Badu courageously taught sistahs how to move in a world sans the oftentimes unrealistic responsibility that comes with being black and woman. Erykah also did this with a sweet yet potent voice from yesteryear. Sounding like a direct heir to Billie Holiday, Ms. Badu, a child of blues, jazz and hip-hop married her influences with a type of sittin-on-the-front-porch-with-yo-granny kind of wisdom to create the genre defining  Baduizm, and thus solidifying our everlasting adoration for this analog girl in a digital world.

For Essence magazine's eighth annual Black Women in Music celebration sponsored by The Lincoln Motor Company , black women from music and entertainment came together to honor and be honored by FatBellyBella. But before we get into the night's performance think back to 20 years ago. Rhythm and blues had been narrowly defined and our soon-to-be favorite songs were already earning valuable real estate in our hearts. If you were a black girl claiming to be a singer, there was a DNA put in place by record labels you had to follow. Yes, 90s R&B is your mama's mac & cheese and disputing its power isn't what's happening here, but Erykah's Baduizm could've flopped because it didn't color in the lines, which ironically is why it sky rocketed to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums' chart.

No other singers told us they were born under water with three dollars and six dimes, or to pick your friends like you pick your fruit. Similar to Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, Erykah also hid her gorgeous face and green eyes on the album cover. Why? because it was about the message and music, not the messenger. (Columbia was livid with Maxwell for the pair of open-toe heels he used as the album art and as a compromise, his face and Samson like crown and glory was featured on the back.)

I was 12 when Baduizm came out and didn't know any better. I described the weird wooden object that looked like a cross with a rounded top as just that. It was Erykah who schooled me to what an Ankh is, and it would be Erykah who would introduce to me to much more. Ms. Badu taught black women there's a lot they have to unlearn, while simultaneously giving us the freedom to learn what works for us. For those unwilling to receive that gift, Badu was called "weird."  Her musical goddaughters Solange--who was on hand to introduce E--would beg to differ, and Janelle Monae would most certainly second it.

Ladies how y'all feel? Fellas, y'all alright?

Erykah's asked her fans this same question for years and just like her, we've put on a brave face as we go through it all, the good, the bad, and the in-between times. But when Erykah's on stage its like a cup of healing hot tea and we drink it in because Erykah is Mama, Auntie and homegirl all in one. With her band of 20 years, Robert Glasper on keys and her one background vocalist she found on YouTube, Seven, Puma and Mars' mama reminded us why Baduizm is also a genre-bending record. Running through hits like "On & On" "Apple Tree" and "Other Side of The Game." E also blessed us with a few extras including "...& On" from Mama's Gun and "Out My Mind, Just In Time" which speaks candidly to what happens when you must make peace with the fact your ex wants her and not you.

I'd cry for you
I'd pop for you
I'd break for you
And hate for you
And I'll hate you too
If you want me too
Ah, ooh ooh
I'd pray for you
I'd crochet for you
Make it from scratch for you
Leave out the latch for you
Go to the stove for you
Do it some more for you
Do what you want me to
Yes I'm a fool for you

After being awarded by Essence magazine's Vanessa K. De Luca, Erykah kept her acceptance speech short wishing the audience love and light, but the energy had been exchanged and the mission accomplished. She graced the audience with her talent and in exchange reminded everyone you don't have to be other--other than yourself--to be considered revolutionary or to create something of equal value. Erykah will always be left of center for those who simply don't get it. Good! Keep yo ass ova 'dere then. We don't wanna share no way!

Congrats to Erykah Badu on 20 years of music.

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Paras Griffin

T.I. Scolds Man For Wearing Gucci Amid Blackface Scandal

Gucci brand might be on a mission to right its wrongs, but T.I. isn't willing to forgive and forget so easily. A month after the luxury fashion brand received backlash for selling a sweater that resembled blackface, T.I. was seen on camera scolding a man for rocking the brand's latest steez.

"Stand up for yourself, brother," T.I. told the man. "It's what's in you, not what's on you. That sh*t ain't shit until we put it on! We make that sh*t fly! Look at me, n***a. I'm fly as a motherf**ker and I ain't got that sh*t on. I look better than you, as a matter of fact." The video was reportedly filmed outside of a bistro earlier this week.

The man hit back, using the argument that T.I. previously owned Gucci items. "They showed me their disrespect, so guess what? I can't do it no more," he said defending himself.

As previously reported, T.I. announced his plans to boycott Gucci in Feb. 2019, after news of the blackface sweater began to circulate. "We ain't going for this 'oops my bad I didn't mean to be racist and disrespectful towards your people' shit!!! Y'all knew wtf y'all was doing and WE AINT GOING FOR IT," he said in a lengthy Instagram post at the time.

In addition to publicly apologizing, Gucci has since launched a new initiative. With help from Dapper Dan and other fashion leaders, the brand announced its Changemakers Council implement and invest in programs that promote diversity and support communities of color. The council will include DeRay McKesson, will.i.am, and writer and activist Brittany Packnett. A Changemakers Fund will donate $5 million to underrepresented communities around the U.S.

“It is imperative that we have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented and reimagined," Dapper Dan said in a statement announcing the initiative. "Through our work together, Gucci is in a position to lead the overall industry toward becoming a better more inclusive one."

We'll see if that convinces T.I. to have a change of heart. In the meantime, check out the video of him scolding a man below.

 

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T.I. droppin Jewels during one of my meetings at the bistro...homie was Gucci Down too... #WrongPlaceWrongTime @troubleman31 @iam_lyriq @theshaderoom @50cent

A post shared by Lyriq (Lye-reek) (@iam_lyriq) on Mar 16, 2019 at 4:24pm PDT

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Tasos Katopodis

Shaquille O'Neal His Taking His Music Talents To Miami

Shaquille O’Neal is coming out of retirement, and we're not talking about basketball. Actually, the four-time NBA champ is heading back to Miami to showcase new music. Shaq will reportedly be one of the headliners at the upcoming Miami Music Week this month.

The sports commentator will bring "Shaq's Fun House" to Miami Music Week. The performance will showcase his DJ skills.

"Performing to me is my Game 7," O’Neal, aka DJ Diesel, told The Associated Press. "Game 7, down by one, the city needs you, everybody needs you, the crowd’s going crazy. When you do these music festivals, the kids, they come to do two things — relieve stress and have a great time. Sports and music relieve stress, and I happen to dominate both."

Shaq's passion for Dj-ing dates back to the early 2000s. His "fun house" has previously made appearances during the Super Bowl festivities earlier this year and in Miami in 2018. Shaq is also a platinum-selling rapper. His first studio album, Shaq Diesel, sold one million album units in 1993. His next three studio albums also performed well on Billboard's US R&B chart.

As far as his Miami showcase goes, Shaq said that he isn't worried. "There’s really no pressure," he said. "I was taught since an early age, if people pay to see you perform, just give them a show. When it comes to playing music, you just have to pick the right songs the kids can groove to. Give them some new stuff, give them some old stuff. And when I get up there and I see the bouncing, I just go into the zone. Music and sports are the only things that get me into that zone."

Shaq will join several celebrity guests during Miami Music Week. DJ Diesel will hit the stage in Miami on Mar. 29.

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Nuccio DiNuzzo

Buku Abi Fires Back After R. Kelly Posts Birthday Video

Buku Abi has seemingly responded to the media attention surrounding R. Kelly's birthday video message to her earlier this week. Buku requested that no one, including her father, refers to her by "Joann."

"My name is BUKU ABI. Not Joann, not dojo, not '[space] daughter,'" Buku insisted. "Nothing besides Buku will work for me. If you don’t know me personally, please don’t call me anything but Buku or Buku Abi."

While Buku didn't address anyone directly, the message was likely in reference to R. Kelly's video in which he used Buku's government name, Joann, in his birthday wish.

This wouldn't be the first time that Buku Abi has emerged on social media to address the controversy surrounding her father. In Jan. 2019, Buku released a statement amid Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, referring to him as a "monster." During his viral interview with Gayle King, Kelly suggested that Buku had been manipulated by his ex-wife, Drea Kelly, into believing he was a bad person.

Check out Buku Abi's message below.

 

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#RKelly’s daughter has something to say amid her father’s birthday wishes to her 👀😩

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:59am PDT

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