During her Everyday Struggle visit back in November of 2017, the world got to see the free-spirited Erykah Badu in all of her glory. And while she references the public’s perception of her relationship with rappers (“That I take rappers to the sunken place” is how she describes it) in a new conversation with Vulture, heads are reacting to her comments on Adolf Hitler and Bill Cosby more than anything.
The interview is fascinating in its flow. The conversation that brought up Cosby, and later Hitler, started out as Badu speaking on her appreciation for XXXTentacion’s work, and the idea of separating the person from the art they are making. “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? 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.”
Badu follows up, acknowledging that, “I know I could be crucified for saying that, because I’m supposed to be on the purple team or the green team. I’m not trying to rebel against what everybody’s saying, but maybe I want to measure it.” That’s definitely ruffling feathers, but as the conversation shifted, the interviewer asked her about Badu’s perceived anti-Semitism based on an Israeli article quoting Badu’s thoughts on Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
“I’m not an anti-Semitic person,” Badu stated. “I don’t even know what anti-Semitic was before I was called it. I’m a humanist. I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler.” After being asked to clarify what she was saying, Badu said that Hitler was “a wonderful painter.”
When asked point blank what Hitler being a good painter (even if he wasn’t) had to do with him being a “good person,” Badu explained “Okay, he was a terrible painter. Poor thing. 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.”
Which, as she said before, “Hurt people hurt people,” and while Badu chalked much of her comments up to her independent thinking, where she’d rather examine each case individually than align with the mentality of the many, that didn’t stop Twitter from going ham about her comments.