“I just want one sip of whatever she’s drinking,” that’s what I told my friend as we watched Erykah Badu pour yet another serving of her infamous “tea.” (Aren’t you a little curious as to what’s “really” in there?)
Anywho, she performed over the Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore (my hometown) and I must say, it was one of my favorite Badu performances to date.
While her shows are pretty consistent in style, it’s obvious that either Badu is on the comeback from heartache, she’s still enjoying the pleasures of herbal remedies or she just really doesn’t care. It could be all of the above but it really seems like she’s found a way to free herself from the demands of public perception and expectations. There’s a life lesson there, we’ll get back to it.
She started the show with my current favorite song, Out My Mind Just in Time and for the entire performance of that song I thought I was her backup singer. Then she went into Me, a song where she often enjoys displaying her favorite finger at the thought of the media exploiting her journey and testimony.
She shocked much of the crowd when she later dropped her black trench-coat and hat for a peach colored spring flowing dress. (Is Badu going back to her Mama’s Gotta Gun days?) She even accompanied the dress with a few moves that verified that Badu was indeed… a woman.
Watching Ms. Badu perform made me think of one thing, what if more people could be that free?
What if our flaws, shortcomings, dysfunctional attributes were appreciated more than critiqued and criticized? Who or what would we have to hide from then? Only our belief in a higher power and a higher value of ourselves—right?
Would there be less stress and pressure to measure up to something often unrealistic?
Badu has had three children by three different men. Is she supposed to hide that and be ashamed? Or take it as life and the lessons she’s learned. It may not even be, by her standards, wrong. So who are we or rather, society, to suggest it is?
Who is perfect? Who can really throw the first stone?
Unfortunately, we have been trained and conditioned to live in a box and we’ve been given examples and guidelines of what’s right and wrong. We drive ourselves crazy trying to fit that mold knowing that some of who we really are spiels over and we’re stuck trying to put a spanx on the bodies of our story.
I know that many of us have careers that are black and white. Politicians and preachers often have to pretend and so do a lot of people like me and you. Whether you’re doing it for your family, community, position, name…I’m sure a part of you wishes you could sip some of Badu’s tea and dance to the grooves of your own truths.
Other people may not appreaciate it, but I rather enjoy the backend often neglected stories that ultimately make people who they are. And I rather think its usually an intriguing and beautiful person behind all of the make-up and black trench-coats that we wear.
But who am I? I’m just a fan who may have been sprinkled with Badu’s fairy dust. Pray for my return.