I recently had the chance to see Erykah Badu live, in concert. The show was phenomenal on so many levels. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts and I hadn’t seen such ecstatic devotion directed towards a performer before in quite some time, especially by the same sex. Women and I mean women were falling out of the rafters, testifying at the church of Erykah. Unlike the same sex salvation that was part and parcel of the women’s music scene of the mid 80’s, these women were mostly straight from what I could see, their boyfriends/husbands in semi-mute witness to their riotous testifying, full-bodied-expressions of faith. Badu, even from my perch in the aeries of The Fox Theater seemed larger than life. I can imagine and project her presence being equal to that of Holliday, Garland and Streisand–a galactic diva.
She sailed through scales, past and future catalog, focusing on tracks from New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) the deliciously eclectic and eccentric release from 2008 and her equally beguiling and enigmatic current release, New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh). In between tracks, she would pass her hand over a Theremin, invoking the sounds of waves emanating from ancient dynasties.
I left floating on a cloud of estrogen looking forward to my fusion with Cleopatra Jones later in the evening.
Badu recently did something hardly anyone else does. She took a risk. A big, fat, artistic risk. She walked through Dealy Plaza, stripping off pieces of her attire in the video for ‘Window Seat” from New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh). This is the type of thing that people like Marlon Brando and John Lennon used to do. It’s ballsy. It’s star stuff. And now she might get arrested by The Dallas Police for disorderly conduct.
In the video, Badu is making statement about artistic and personal integrity, blurring the lines of personal and collective history. Some might think it’s sensationalizing and denigrating the assassination of JFK, exploiting a national tragedy, but I would differ. I think what she is doing is re-opening one of the most crucial collective wounds in our social memory.
After the death of JFK, America went through a psychic fracturing as everything splits, from generations, races and sexes to classes, etc. While The 60’s represented the greatest counter cultural movement of our time, it happened at the expense of traditions, mores and values that might not have been totally tainted by the bathwater. By stripping herself bare, she brings attention to that raw and naked moment, where our innocence was assassinated and the insertion of new programing takes place in the void of a shared post-traumatic-memory.
Badu is driven by two main forces in her chart–a strong stellium of Mercury, Sun and Moon in Pisces and another equally powerful stellium of Neptune, Jupiter and Mars, all in Sag. Here we see someone that is in service to mysticism, art, spirituality, beauty, hope and truth. Balancing these two aspects/energies of Pisces/Sag is not easy as the stelliums square off against one another. Her latest video is a vivid example of her attempting to bridge these worlds. Manifesting truth though art seems to be where she’s at now. Transiting Jupiter is winging it’s way towards her natal Moon, which means that the ancient mysteries of woman, the temple of feminine mystery will open it’s gates to Badu in a deeply expressive and expansive fashion. In essence, it will give her a window seat to her soul. Look for yet another stunning video on the horizon that will capture this energy in all of her semi-contradictory and stunning glory.
I’ll be working on scopes for April tonight and tomorrow. Easter Sunday scopes special ready to hatch.