by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Erykah Badu claims her new look is due to a religious experience she had in Cuba. This music artist who shot a controversial music video in which she got naked before the unassuming public, used to array herself in floral dresses, giant jewels, and head wraps. Now she sports the unpredictable and sometimes disheveled look.
Badu recently told Essence magazine that her goal with her new appearance is to free herself of labels. While she was travelling to hear a Santeria reading in 2000, she observed that many of the Cubans patterned their fashion in a way Americans would think of as messy. Furthermore, while she was on a bus she sat next to a man with dirty nails, and this man turned out to be the priest who did her Santeria reading. Badu shared with Essence:
“I never wore the head wrap again. I realized it wasn’t necessary anymore, because after all, that man was from a long line of healers and he didn’t have to look like one. He was born with it. No matter what he did or what he said, no one could take that away from him. That’s when I was freed and began to evolve. I began to focus on being more in here than out there.”
What she learned from all of this was that it is not important to define oneself by attire. I do not know how well this message would be received by the clean-cut and suited businessmen of Corporate America, but for what it is worth, Badu’s new epiphany sounds terribly liberating.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.