Born: February 26, 1971
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Erica Abi Wright aka Erykah Badu, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. Badu's career began after opening a show for D'Angelo in 1994 in Fort Worth; record label executive Kedar Massenburg was highly impressed with her performance and signed her to Kedar Entertainment. Her first album, Baduizm, was released in February 1997. It spawned three singles: "On & On", "Next Lifetime" and "Otherside of the Game". The album was certified triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her first live album, Live, was released in November 1997 and was certified double Platinum by the RIAA.
Her second studio album, Mama's Gun, was released in 2000. It spawned three singles: "Bag Lady", which became her first top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #6, "Didn't Cha Know?" and "Cleva". The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Badu's third album, Worldwide Underground, was released in 2003. It generated three singles: "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)", "Danger" and "Back in the Day (Puff)" with 'Love' becoming her second song to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA. Badu's fourth album, New Amerykah Part One, was released in 2008. It spawned two singles: "Honey" and "Soldier". New Amerykah Part Two was released in 2010 and fared well both critically and commercially. It contained the album's lead single "Window Seat", which led to controversy.
Influenced by R&B, 1970s soul, and 1980s hip hop, Badu became associated with the neo soul subgenre in the 1990s along with artists like D'Angelo. Badu has been called the queen of neo soul. Her voice has been compared to jazz singer Billie Holiday. Early in her career, Badu was recognizable for her eccentric style, which often included wearing very large and colorful headwraps. She was a core member of the Soulquarians. As an actress, she has played a number of supporting roles in movies including Blues Brothers 2000, The Cider House Rules and House of D. She also has appeared in the documentaries Before the Music Dies and The Black Power Mixtapes.
In 1995, Badu became involved with rapper André 3000 of OutKast, with whom she had her first child, a son named Seven Sirius Benjamin, on November 18, 1997. Their relationship ended in 1999.
On July 5, 2004, Badu gave birth to a daughter, Puma Sabti Curry; Puma's father is West Coast rapper The D.O.C., originally from Dallas. On February 1, 2009, Badu gave birth to her third child, a girl named Mars Merkaba Thedford, with her boyfriend of five years, rapper Jay Electronica.
For the 2014 Okayplayer platform and web television OkayAfrica TV, Badu had her DNA tested, and genealogists researched her family ancestry. Badu's DNA revealed from her mother's that she is partly of West and Central Africa descent, specifically the Bamileke people of Cameroon.