Though given the title "Queen of Neo-Soul" in the late 90s, Erykah Badu has truly been one that titles can't describe.
Born in South Dallas, educated at Booker T. Washington, and still living -- at least part of the time -- in Dallas, Badu has kept her North Texas roots firm, even through the ups and downs of success. That, in itself, is admirable for an artist firmly in touch with the world stage -- still, Badu goes further.
Her non-profit work with Beautiful Love Incorporated Non-Profit Development (B.L.I.N.D) gives Dallas kids a chance to express themselves and perform in music and theater. Our recent visit to a benefit show she did at the House of Blues showed us she's not in it for the "celebrity cause" wave -- she wants kids to experience the joys of music.
She has plenty of reason to be joyous. Her last record, "New Amerykah Pt. 1: 4th World War" was critically lauded, and her next disc is on it's way to store shelves -- likely in time for Grammy nominations. Her frequent collaborations with groups like Cannabinoids are certain to expand with her plans to open a new studio at South Side On Lamar in Dallas. Badu says putting up a studio in Dallas gives back to the community and will allow her producers and engineers to take a "mentorship" approach to certain acts in the scene.
So is she just the daughter of Dallas, philanthropist, or expressive artist? Perhaps the best title is "Queen of Dallas' Soul"