I am so not a lesbian, but I’m totally head over heels in love with a couple of women, one of them being Ms. Erykah Badu. I love Badu because she is one of the few female performers that remains true to themselves in the midst of the consumer driven agenda of mainstream music (sorry, my inner activist hopped out). She is eclectic, creative and for lack of a better word weird… but in a good way.
I have seen Ms. Badu perform on several different occasions and every time, I feel like I am watching a whole new person. Her most recent display of creativity in Chicago took place during the Heineken Red Star Soul concert, which was held at Crobar. The Heineken Red Star Soul series is an innovative music experience like no other. It features some of today’s hottest R&B and soul music ARTISTS (not just entertainers, but real artists).
Before I get into the details of this performance, let me give you give you a rundown of her last show in the “Windy City.”The last time she was in the Chi, she performed for the Miller Genuine Draft’s concert series, The Craft.
While I was in the audience at a jam-packed Park West, the lights began to dim and the music began to softly play. The audience began to scream and cheer with anticipation. After a while when the stage remained unchanged, the audience fell silent. Soon after, a short and petite figure strutted onto the stage by executing robot like movements. The figure, noticeably female, was draped in a sea of purple crocheted scarves. Her whole head was covered except for her eyes. As soon as everybody in the audience caught a good glimpse of ‘the hazel eyes that’ll hypnotize,’ they began to go wild. Badu proceeded to walk over to a mixer and manipulated it to make intergalactic sounds that only aliens could understand. As the show continued, she began to shed her purple scarves, slowly but surely, until she revealed her low cut hair and a stream of henna that consumed one of her arms. She then proceeded to give one of the simplest, yet most energetic performances I have ever seen in my life!
Now, let’s fast forward to last week, the Heineken Red Star Soul series. The event was hot! Live music and my favorite… free booze. The opening acts of the evening included the sultry Teedra Moses and the soulful Chrisette Michelle, who both rocked it out.
When it was time for Ms. Badu to come out I was kinda antsy. I was wondering who she would be today. In the middle of my contemplation a slim woman with a mushroom haircut and huge 80s glasses, wearing a t-shirt tucked into a high-waist skirt and sporting an oversized gator pursed stepped on the stage. Everybody was snickering and whispering “Who the hell is that?” I too wondered who this woman was for a second, until I got a good glimpse at her hazel eyes. It was Erykah!
She proceeded to sail through her new songs while channeling the attitude and the demeanor of a fly 70s secretary. She even gave the fellas a treat when she ‘got low with it’ and ‘dropped it like it was hot.’ Her show was extremely soulful and for lack of a better word, great.
I’ve met her five times and every time I do, I feel like I am meeting a brand new person and this time was no different. The first time I met her, she was wearing an oversized afro and Rasta colors; the second time; she was sporting hip-length micro-braids and a Greek inspired dress; the third time she was sporting an intergalactic Muslim look; and now, she doing the secretary thing and she made it hot!
This woman deserves much props. She’s been out 10 years and she constantly finds a way to reinvent herself without selling her soul. I can’t wait to see her again to find out who she’s gonna be next.