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Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu is definitive: she is an artist that so thoroughly changes the rules that she makes it hard to remember what it was like before she was on the scene. With Love of My Life, from the Brown Sugar soundtrack, Motown artist Badu has again defined the highest creative potential of music. Badu fuses jazz, R&B and hip hop influences of a lifetime, and does so not only with her voiced but with many talents: writing, producing, directing, poetry, dance, drama and visual arts.

Badu's Mama's Gun achieved platinum success. Badu's debut album, Baduizm, is considered by many to be a classic, and went on to sell 3 million copies.

Accolades and recognition followed: four Grammys, four Soul Train Awards, four Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, two NCAAP Image Awards and an American Music Award in the first year.

Born in 1972 in Dallas, TX, where she continues to make her home base, Badu performed on stage at age four with her mother, Kolleen Wright, a professional actress, and wrote her first song at seven on an old piano her grandmother bought for her. While at Booker T. Washington High School, an art-oriented magnet school, she had a regular spot rapping on a local hip-hop radio show, tagged Apples. Then, seizing her own self-hood, she renamed herself entirely, changing her name from Erica Wright to Erykah Badu, kah for the inner self and ba-du," after the scat singing of the great jazz vocalists.

Badu entered Grambling University in Louisiana as a theater studies major. Badu's commanding on-screen presence, apparent from the first viewing of On and On, was repeatedly confirmed by her subsequent acting roles: cameos on the daytime drama One Life to Live and Blues Brothers 2000, and especially her moving, honest work in The Cider House Rules.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Erykah Badu Facts

Birth NameErica Wright
BirthdayFebruary 26, 1971 (53)
BirthplaceDallas, Texas, USA
Height5' (1m52)  How tall is Erykah Badu compared to you?

Selected Filmography

A Bird in Hand
House of D
Chappelle's Show 208
The Land
Before the Music Dies
DJ Lance's Super Music & Toy Room
Hip Hop Nation Volume 6
The Cider House Rules
Erykah Badu & The Roots Live
Dave Chappelle's Block Party
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