Erykah Badu’s Most Controversial Moments: From Naked Music Videos to Hitler Comments
Calling herself an “empath” and “humanist,” Badu went on to say, “I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler.” Upon being asked to elaborate, she responded, “I did. Hitler was a wonderful painter.” Marchese pushed Badu on the statement, causing her to relent that “[Hitler] was a terrible painter.”
“Poor thing,” she continued. “He had a terrible childhood. That means that when I’m looking at my daughter, Mars, I could imagine her being in someone else’s home and being treated so poorly, and what that could spawn. I see things like that. I guess it’s just the Pisces in me.”
Badu explained herself on Twitter Thursday, writing, "I understand why my ‘good’ intent was misconstrued as ‘bad.' In trying to express a point, I used 1 of the worst examples possible, Not to support the cruel actions of an unwell, psychopathic Adolf Hitler, but to only exaggerate a show of compassion."
Sympathy for Bill Cosby
When asked by writer David Marchese about separating art from the artist, with Louis C.K. and Cosby used as examples, Badu opined, “I don’t want to get scared into not thinking for myself. I weigh everything. Even what you just asked me, I would have to really think about it and know the facts in each of those situations before I made a judgment. Because I love Bill Cosby, and I love what he’s done for the world."
"But if he’s sick, why would I be angry with him?" she added. "The people who got hurt, I feel so bad for them. I want them to feel better, too. But sick people do evil things; hurt people hurt people.”
Short Skirt Controversy
Responding to a 2016 article from New York Magazine’s The Cut, about a New Zealand school whose dress code required girls to wear knee-length skirts because the school wanted to avoid distracting male classmates and teachers, Badu made waves after she wrote on Twitter that she agreed with the school’s decision.
"I agree," the singer wrote on social media. "We are sexual beings. We should consider everyone. Young girls are attractive. Some males are distracted."
Although she later added that “males should be taught to be responsible” and that “it’s not ok to ‘prey’ on young women,” she went on to say, “If I had a school I would make sure the uniform skirt length was a nice knee length… It is fair to everyone.”
Sneaking a Kiss on an Unsuspecting Reporter
In 2014, Badu created waves after she was caught on camera interrupting a news report from Pix11 reporter Mario Diaz in New York City — by trying to kiss him.
Badu apologized to Diaz on Twitter shortly thereafter, and Diaz responded by shrugging off the incident with lyrics from Prince’s “Kiss.”
“I just want your extra time and your kiss,” he wrote, before adding that his wife — who was “20 yards away” at the time — laughed after she realized what had happened and complemented Badu for having “Great taste.”
Singing Happy Birthday — to a Dictator
Badu was slammed by human rights activists after she posted about performing at a birthday party for Swaziland King Mswati III — whom Amnesty International has describesd as having "absolute control" over the country.
According to Billboard, Badu replied in a since-deleted Tweet, "I was not paid by the KING. I had no idea of the political climate."
And in an interview with The Dallas Morning News she went on to say, "I went into a situation not completely knowing the political climate of the kingdom. I can't be held responsible for the situation in the kingdom because I signed up as an artist, not as a political activist. I don't belong to anyone or to anything. Anything I do is because I am a human being, and I am for the people."
Nude Music Video Drama
In 2010, the singer’s music video for song “Window Seat” — which showed Badu stripping while making references to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — created controversy, but the singer said her video had been “grossly misinterpreted by many.”
“I would never disrespect JFK. his revolutionary thinking is my inspiration. my performance art has been grossly misinterpreted by many," she wrote on Twitter at the time.
In the video, Badu strips while walking along a sidewalk in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza — where the president was assassinated. After Badu removes all of her clothing, she feigns being shot in the head, falling to the ground near where Kennedy was fatally wounded on Nov. 22, 1963.