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Erykah Badu Biography – Childhood, Career & Family Life

Erykah Badu Biography

Erykah Badu is a well-known name in the entertainment industry thanks to her amazing R&B soul and hip hop influenced music. She has been in the business since the mid-1990s and has not only put out numerous albums but also found fame for being in the forefront of the neo soul movement. Besides music, the talented star has also earned critical acclaim for her acting works.

Thanks to her long and successful career as a singer and actress, Erykah has been in the spotlight for years now. But besides her professional journey, people also want to learn about the personal side of the multi talented star. Therefore, in this biography we will take a look at Badu’s childhood, career, relationship, family life, and more.

Where Is Erykah Badu From?

The singer/actress was born in Dallas, Texas, on February 26, 1971 as Erica Abi Wright. She was raised alongside her siblings, Eevin Wright and Nayrok Wright in her hometown. Erykah Badu’s parents, William Wright Jr. and Kolleen Maria Gipson separated early on and the Wright siblings were raised by Kolleen alone. Badu’s maternal and paternal grandparents too helped look after her and her siblings.

As for her education, Erykah attended the Dallas based Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After graduating from high school, she went on to study theater at the historically black university, Grambling State University. However, Badu left college before graduating so that she could focus on her music.

How Did Erykah Badu’s Journey Into The Entertainment World Start?

Aforementioned, Badu dropped out of college so that she could seriously pursue a career in the music world. However, her first introduction to the performing arts was at the age of four as she sang and danced at the The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) and Dallas Theater Center. She performed under the guidance of her uncle, Curtis King who founded TBAAL and her godmother Gwen Hargrove.

Badu continued on with her performing journey and as a teenager, freestyled for a local station with other talented individuals such as Roy Hargrove. During these times, she started using Erykah Badu as her stage name and has continued on with it.

Moreover, after dropping out of college, the Dallas native taught dance and drama to children at the South Dallas Cultural Center.

During this time, Erykah also worked and toured with Robert “Free” Bradford who is her cousin. She recorded a song demo titled Country Cousins which gained the attention of Kedar Massenburg. Kedar set up the Dallas native to record a duet with another talented musician, D’Angelo. Following this, Badu signed her first record deal with Universal Records.

How Many Albums Have Erykah Badu Released Over The Years?

After signing with Universal Records, Erykah released her debut studio album, Baduizm in early 1997. It was met with commercial and critical success, debuting at no. 2 on the Billboard charts. With the success of the record and its four singles, including On & On, Badu also became one of the emerging leading artists in the neo soul genre.

She also received her first nomination and won at the Grammy Awards in the Best R&B Album category and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for On & On.

Following the success of her debut album, Erykah recorded her first live album titled Live. It was released in November 1997 and reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. The singles from this record also did well on the charts. Badu then collaborated with the hip hop band the Roots on their 1999 album Things Fall Apart. She was featured in their song You Got Me and received a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group that year.

The Dallas native came back with her solo project, Mama’s Gun in 2000 which was produced by Soulwuarians. Similar to her previous musical projects, Mama’s Gun too received rave reviews and was a platinum selling success. To promote the record, Erykah embarked on the Mama’s Gun World Tour in 2001. In between the album’s release and the tour, Badu had collaborated with her then-boyfriend, Common on Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop) and won a Grammy for this.

Continuing with her music journey, Erykah put out several other studio albums over the years. Listed below are the name and their respective release year of Badu’s records:

  • Worldwide Underground – 2003
  • New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) – 2008
  • New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) – 2010
  • Feel Better World! … Love, Ms. Badu – 2015
  • But You Caint Use My Phone – 2015

Besides her own studio albums, Erykah has collaborated with many talented artists to feature on their records. She appeared on songs from artists such as Flying Lotus, Rocketjuice & the Moon, Tyler, The Creator, Janelle Monáe and more. Moreover, Badu has stated that she has been working on her sixth album. So, let’s hope we get to hear more of her music in the coming days.

How Rich Is Erykah Badu?

As stated above, the talented singer-songwriter’s studio albums and collaborations were great success and resulted in her winning many awards. Moreover, her musical projects have done well financially. Therefore it is no surprise that Erykah Badu’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million.

However, music and touring is not the only source of income for the talented star. She has also tied her hand in acting, making her debut playing a supporting role of Queen Mousette in the 1998 movie Blues Brothers 2000. This was followed by Badu playing the part of Rose Rose in the film The Cider House Rules. For her performance in this project, Erykah was nominated for numerous awards.

Badu then played Lady/Bernadette in the 2004 movie House of D and had small roles in Dave Chappelle’s BLock Party and Before the Music Dies. She has also worked on many other acting projects such as The Land, Black Dynamite, Hand of God, What Men Want and Forward: The Future of Black Music.

Furthermore, Erykah has also made a name for herself in the fashion world thanks to her eccentric style. People recognize Badu for her large and colorful headwraps and hats and other accessories. She also served as the face of Tom Ford White Patchouli fragrance and Givenchy’s Spring Collection in 2014. Badu collaborated with Kerby Jean Raymond during the 2016 New York Fashion Week, styling for the designer’s Pyer Moss collection titled, Double Bind.

It is evident that Erykah Badu’s fortune of $10 million is well earned thanks to her successful music and acting career. Moreover, with even more upcoming projects under her belt, there is no doubt that her wealth will increase in the coming days.

How Many Children Does Erykah Badu Have?

Besides her success as a singer and actress, Erykah Badu has also found happiness as a mother of three. She welcomed her first child, Seven Sirius Benjamin on November 18, 1997 with her then partner Andre 3000. The pair were together from 1995 to 1999 but continues to have an amicable relationship. Furthermore, Erykah had been pregnant with her son, Seven when she recorded her first live album.

Badu then welcomed her first daughter named Puma Sabti Curry in July 2004, with rapper The D.O.C. She had been dating the rapper since 2002 but it is unclear when they separated. Erykah gave birth to her third child and second daughter, Mars Merkaba Thedford on February 1, 2009. Mars’ father is Elpadaro F. Electronica Allah aka Jay Electronica, a rapper.

Besides her relationships with her baby daddies, the recording artist has also been in other relationships. Erykah Badu was reportedly dating fellow producer Carl Jones from 2013 to 2018. It is unclear if she is in a relationship now. But we wish her all the happiness in the world.