Today (Feb. 26) Erykah Badu aka Badoula Oblongata aka Sara Bellum aka Fat Belly Bella aka Annie aka Analogue Girl in a Digital World turns 44, and like they say, some things just get better with time.
The dubbed queen of neo-soul, a term she often disputes, was born Erica Abi Wright on February 26, 1971, in Dallas, Texas. She would later adopt the moniker Erykah Badu-“kah” is an Egyptian term for one’s vital energy or “inner self” and “badu” after her favorite jazz scat sound. Badu released her debut album, Baduizm in 1997, which featured soulful hits such as “On & On,” “Next Lifetime” and “Appletree.” Baduizm received critical acclaim and won Badu two Grammy Awards, one for best female R&B vocal performance and one for best R&B album. In 1999, Badu collaborated with the Roots to create the song “You Got Me,” and took home another Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group. Since then, she has released five more albums and increased her amount of music awards to 16.
Lyrically, Badu gets deep, addressing issues such as institutional racism, poverty, urban violence, spirituality, cultural identity, drug addiction, nihilism, and more. Outside of music, Badu has acted and started a charity organization, titled Beautiful Love Incorporated Non Profit Development, which aims to provide “community-driven development for inner-city youth” through the use of music, dance, theater and visual arts. To sum it up Erykah Badu is the G.O.A.T., and in honor of her birthday we’ve compiled a list of 7 reasons why you simply have to love her.