OkayAfrica and the web series titled, “The Roots Of…” came together to trace Erykah Badu’s African roots through a DNA test. “The Roots Of…” web series features some of your favorite artists—they’ve already tapped Q-Tip, Michael K..Williams and Questlove—as they discover their African ancestry.
Badu’s journey took place in Austin, Texas, where she described her previous encounters trying trace her ancestors. She explained how she did several readings through Shamans and went through priests in Africa. The spiritual singer is a fifth generation from Dallas, Texas.
Within six weeks, she received her ancestry results and found that the lineage of her mother came from the Bamileke area, which is also the grassland of Cameroon, a vast plain. She found that the Cameroon village stands together to raise their children and laughed when she found that they’re bad at time, exclaiming how “time is for the white people. I’ve been saying that in my interviews.”
Simon Bijngsi, a Cameroonian community member accompanied Badu throughout her experience, informing her of the cloths, dance, food and land she originated from.
“The dance of Africa is about the feeling and evoking the energies and spirits of the ancestors that love and protect us and want to see us do well,” she said in discovery of how her community uses dance as a form of expression.
Lucky for us, Badu also mentioned an album in the works. While it is still in the works, we know it will have an African vibe to it because, yes you guessed it, it will be recorded in Africa. The vibrant artist explained how the experience has led her on a different path and how it has changed her outlook on why it’s important to know where she came from. She didn’t understand why it was important until she reached the house, where her community awaited her arrival.
“It’s just another piece to help me become a better Erykah…in America,” she said. Watch the video for yourself up top and check out the rest of the series here.