Erykah Badu is typically the epitome of serenity and positivity but the neo-soul singer is, surprisingly, at the centre of backlash.
The 46-year-old spoke to Vulture reporter, David Marchese, for an honest interview in which she discussed the younger generation of hip hop, dating Andre 3000 and Common, and the mounting sexual assault allegations against the likes of Bill Cosby and Louis C.K.
However, it is her comments about Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler that have sparked outrage.
While some of Badu’s musings are, well, amusing – when asked what has changed in how young people absorb music, she replied: “You can’t roll a joint on the cover of a digital download” – other sentiments are simply jaw-dropping.
Badu was quizzed about her support for religious activist Louis Farrakhan back when he was accused of being anti-Semitic, to which she controversially stated: “I’m also okay with anything I had to say about Louis Farrakhan. But 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. I saw something good in Hitler.”
Marchese, who is Jewish, then prompted Badu to clarify her last comment about the German tyrant, to which she replied: “Yeah, I did. Hitler was a wonderful painter.”
The Bag Lady singer backtracked by sympathising: “Okay, he was a terrible painter. Poor thing. 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. I see things like that. I guess it’s just the Pisces in me.”
Badu stood strong by her comments and insisted she refuses to go along with the popular opinion.
Say what u must. Dialogue is cool . I invite it. But please do me a favor if you can , Black & Jewish Twitter, just don’t use the word “problematic ” any more. 😂Y’all using that too much . 🙄.. oh and read the article.
— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) January 24, 2018
She told Marchese: “You asked me a question. I could’ve chosen not to answer. I don’t walk around thinking about Hitler or Louis Farrakhan. But I understand what you’re saying: ‘Why would you want to risk fueling hateful thinking?’ I have a platform, and I would never want to hurt people. I would never do that. I would never even imagine doing that. I would never even want a group of white men who believe that the Confederate flag is worth saving to feel bad. That’s not how I operate.”
Needless to say, Badu was slammed on social media with one commenting: “This is a fascinating, infuriating interview where Erykah Badu talks about seeing the humanity in Bill Cosby and…Hitler (my jaw is currently on the floor).”
Another critic agreed: “Erykah Badu been trash since at least 2014. She called R Kelly her “family,” said teen girls are distracting men and should wear more clothes (paraphrased), she capes for Bill Cosby, she capes for Kodak Black. Like… it’s all been leading to this.”
Clearly stunned, one other Twitter commentator tweeted: “Read that entire vulture interview twice and I just… LORDT. Erykah Badu told a JEWISH JOURNALIST she saw good in Hitler.”
Badu has since addressed the backlash on Twitter, writing: “Say what u must. Dialogue is cool . I invite it. But please do me a favor if you can , Black & Jewish Twitter, just don’t use the word ‘problematic’ any more. Y’all using that too much. oh and read the article [sic].”