Neo-soul queen Erykah Badu’s first album, Baduizm, not only signaled the multi-platinum arrival of an auspicious R&B talent, it earned her a 1997 Grammy for Best R&B Album, and the single “On and On” nabbed her a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy. She’s since earned two more golden gramophones for her smooth vocals and inventive tunes. Her one-take video for “Window Seat”, a song from her new album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, shot March 13, 2010 at the infamous Dealey Plazaósite of President Kennedy’s assassination featured her disrobing, then falling down, nude, as a shot rings out. Her nudity, pixilated onscreen, and choice of location earned her reams of print, electronic and blogosphere chatter, and a disorderly conduct citation after one bystander filed an official complaint.
Badu, however, has never been afraid to be bold. With her smooth R&B voice and poetic lyrics, she sometimes examines controversial subjects; this one, she said, was a shot against “groupthink”. Badu, who has collaborated with several top hip-hop artists, has a son with Andre 3000 of Outkast, a daughter with rapper the D.O.C., and another daughter with rapper Jay Electronica. Her Dallas charity, Beautiful Love Inc. Non-profit Development, gives inner-city kids opportunities to explore visual and performing arts.
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