As big a fan of Erykah Badu as I am, I sometimes question whether she actually believes some of what she says or if she feels any pressure from the public to appear as this incredibly enlightened post-modern thinker because it’s expected of her given the depth of her music.
Then again, she might very well mean every word that she says and I’m merely projecting my own insecurities onto her.
After reading an interview she gave the Telegraph earlier this month, I think it could be a combination of both.
In it, Badu touched on infidelity, men and monogamy, and the importance of sex in her life.
On cheating ass cheaters she quipped:
With all those rap-star lovers, is it infidelity that has caused her heartaches? “No. Infidelity is not a deal-breaker for me. We’re all born sexual beings. I myself am not someone with a very high libido. I don’t require sex for happiness – I need companionship. I need a partner I can depend on, that I can love and grow with. But I do understand the nature of these men I’ve been with, and men in general. They have a need to chase.”
Alright, so she’s saying men have a different sexual drive then women. This is common knowledge so I don’t really take any issue with this.
And do you tolerate it? “In my own kind of way. I’m having to recondition my brain, ’cos the first thing I got was a doll named Barbie and she had Ken and that’s how it was supposed to be. You’re conditioned to think that way, and when it doesn’t happen you feel you’re a failure. What we have in common, me and the brothers I’ve known, is that we are all trying to evolve.
And then we get:
“We talk a lot about things that men want. Because I want them to be happy and the more I see how the male of the species behaves, the more I understand, and the less I blame him. It’s just who he is. Is there a solution?” She smiles for the first time in 45 minutes. “Honesty is it. It will get you everywhere. Mind you, I have friends who are in polygamous relationships – they’re no more happy or sad than we are. But at least the bitches know what’s comin’ next!”
In other words: Groupthink.
That lovely little term she constantly uses now. The special phrase that has since become the black intellectual’s answer to “socialite,” “brand,” & “blogger” in terms of overused words that get on my last nerve.
To be fair, we all have been conditioned to believe that we’re supposed to find that one special person and go on to have a nuclear family the way God and our government that wants 20 percent of our income intended. For those that don’t fit that vision for whatever reason (mine rhymes with slow-mo) more times than not you’re made to feel like something is wrong with you and your ratchet mama.
If she were solely speaking against that in principle, I’d feel her. But, that’s not what she’s getting at. Based on her experiences she’s pretty much excusing men who cheat based on the notion that they can’t help it. While it’s one thing to understand biology and acknowledge men possess a certain drive, it’s another to discount that we all have free will and don’t have to break a commitment or vow if we don’t want to.
She sounds defeated and most of all, she sounds hurt. Instead of expounding on that hurt she’s posturing herself to be now “above it all” and “evolving” because as she puts it, “I come from a long line of strong matriarchs. I live in a queendom, ruled by a womb-iverse.”
She also made another claim that threw me off a bit:
“I don’t drink, smoke or have any vices. It’s the music – that’s it.”
Forgive me, but am I the only one out there who often thinks Badu sometimes looks and behaves like she’s high enough to give Jesus a fist-pump?
That said, let me venture onto how I might be appropriating my own feelings onto her.
A few weeks ago I defensively and somewhat angrily responded to a friend about why I’m content with the belief that I’ll likely stay single. The more she’d talk about she hopes to see me with someone the more angry I became. I don’t see it happening for me and I’ve long been trying to convince myself that scenario is fine so long as my money, success, and influence meets every requirement I’ve dreamed it to.
And then very recently I was able to enjoy my idea of perfection and someone I love more than anything. I don’t really like to elaborate on the mushy (it ain’t none of your damn business, smile), but let’s just say no one makes me happier and there is no one better. That unfortunately also reminds me of what’s always lacked and what may very well continue to lack for me.
Can I still lead a life full of good people and success and not feel like a failure because I’m not living in sin with one person? Sometimes I think so because I tend to have a “fuck tradition” attitude as it is. Then there are moments, like a few days ago when I’m not so certain. But I do know one thing: I enjoy spending time saying the former out loud to others while privately fighting off the latter in my own space and time.
Often times with a song like this:
It’s this very song that makes it hard for me to really wrap my head around what Erykah’s saying in this interview.
I’m not calling Badu a hypocrite. She’s not. It’s not my intention to vilify her or anything of the sort. I’m merely quite curious to know if she really means what she’s saying. A part of me thinks she wants to believe it but only because she’s been burned.
I cannot pretend that I’m happy about my situation, only that I can find happiness in spite of it.
But I know what I want and no matter how you flip it, anything other than your ideal scenario is settling. Not to mention incredibly disappointing and downright hurtful.
So is she reconditioning her brain because she’s truly seeking evolution? Or are her musings nothing more than a declaration of settling under the shroud of evolution?
If it’s option one, so be it and I’ll admit I’m dead wrong. But if there’s even the tiniest sign of truth for door number two, I’d love to hear her touch more on that.That sort of honesty would be a lot more ‘new’ than anything she spouted out to the Telegraph.
And be far more appreciative to the rest of us out here trying to make sense of it all, too.