A Love Letter to Miss Badu
written by China McGee
Dear Miss Badu,
I once visited a strip club in Atlanta. It reminded me of you.
The nakedness in the room startled me at first. These were some of the most mesmerizing women with impossibly perfect bodies I’d ever seen. As they twirled, twerked and slid across every metallic surface in the room, I remember feeling something strange. I felt empowered. Not only did these women exhibit super human levels of strength, their ability to move both freely and with control had me floored. On top of that, it wasn’t the men who adorned them with dollars; it was other women giving them accolades. I left feeling fortunate to be a woman - a Black woman - surrounded by these powerful, strong Black women.
ERYKAH, YOU GAVE ME THAT SAME KIND OF HIGH.
You are freedom personified. It’s dripping off of you. Your music, your clothing, the way you wear your hair - all of it consistently screams you.
The first time I heard “On and On”, I was in 7th grade. My brother was home from college and we were riding through the southside of Chicago in his Wrangler. I didn’t really understand what you were saying. I’m not sure I fully get it now. But I was intrigued. I liked your vibe. You had something different to say.
And then I saw you. I followed you across airwaves, concert halls, and Twitter. You were quick. Slick. Funny. Funky. Soulful. Honest. Conscious. With a sweet voice. Hypnotizing eyes. Dope style. Nappy hair. You were my big sister in my head. You still are.
We randomly crossed paths in November 2014. You sat in the booth next to mine at Megu in Dream Downtown. A big silver hat sat atop your head. My fiancé had a fan boy moment. I knew better than to look you in the eye. And I was about to poke his eye out so he wouldn’t look either. I knew that if you made eye contact, it was a wrap. I’d lost him forever.
I’m nowhere near as eccentric as you. Or as talented. I don’t have your booty or your voice. But I aim to be the same kind of free that you and the Atlanta strippers have mastered. Every time I see you on the ‘gram or in concert. Every time your voice comes over my Spotify. You remind me to be me. And I love you for that.
Catch Erykah Badu on tour singing songs like Tyrone, Bag lady, and more. Check her dates here