‘She believed in herself’ – Steve Harvey recalls Erykah Badu’s resolve to rise as a waitress

Michael Eli Dokosi Dec 6, 2019 at 05:00pm

December 06, 2019 at 05:00 pm | Entertainment

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

December 06, 2019 at 05:00 pm | Entertainment

Steve Harvey and Erykah Badu via vulture.com

She is a singer, songwriter, record producer and an actress. She has four Grammys since releasing her debut album, ‘Baduizm’ in 1997 and has gone on to sell her music in the millions.

Erykah Badu has done well for herself but finding her feet wasn’t always easy. Steve Harvey in recalling the times they shared in the early days has revealed that Badu in the 90s came to him at his Dallas Comedy Club seeking a job as a waitress.

Harvey submitted that not content with just being a waitress, she started organizing plays for kids telling him she could bring schools to the theatre.

Erykah Badu in Nation19 Magazine.jpg
Photo of Erykah Badu backstage for Nation19 magazine

Harvey who says he is good friends with the mother of three continued “it was clear Badu was trying to get close to show business.”

Harvey then made Badu his personal assistant, but then she asked to be made a stage manager and while Harvey was surprised as comics just had to pick their mics and speak, he nonetheless gave her the permission to become the stage manager and was great at it.

“I didn’t know what she was doing but she created a job,” he stated.

But then the woman who will come to be known for musical Genres R&B, neo soul and hip hop asked to be allowed to perform on one of the nights showing Harvey songs she had written and then sang to him.

It so turned out that Harvey and Badu recorded an album named Section 8. As Harvey rendered “Section 8 was about being poor because we were both poor.”

“She just had this believe in herself. She wanted so much more for herself,” Harvey said of Badu about her drive and steely determination.

When she finally made it to mainstream, her ‘Baduizm’ was certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, Gold by the British Phonographic Industry and the Canadian Recording Industry Association.

She went on to produce studio albums Mama’s Gun (2000), Worldwide Underground (2003), New Amerykah Part One (2008) and New Amerykah Part Two (2010).

Her partners through the years have spanned André 3000 (1995–1999), Common (2000–2002), Jay Electronica (2004–2009) and Carl Jones (2013–2018).

Badu was born Erica Abi Wright on February 26, 1971 in Dallas, Texas raised by her actress mother, Kolleen Maria Gipson. She settled on the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She is also a product of Grambling State University, a historically black institution in Grambling, Louisiana.

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