Erykah Badu at The Filmore (Silver Spring, MD)

All photos: Diamond Dixon
March 4, 2013

The first time I saw Erykah Badu in concert was 2010 at Constitution Hall for the New Amerykah Part Two tour. She was wearing a black rain coat, sweatpants, and high heeled black boots. Her hair was light brown fluffy, wild and untamed with part of it gathered in the middle of her head like cone. I remember her opening with a cosmic performance of “20 Feet Tall.” The music attached itself to her voice and vibrated through the room in a large circular motion. I attended the concert completely sober and left feeling a natural high inspired by her sensational stage presence.

“Mama’s Gun Live” at the Filmore sparked an even greater high than the one she left me in 2010. I only had one drink on purpose. There was no way I was going to let intoxication affect my ability to be completely present in the Erykah Badu experience. This album is my gospel. I listen to this when I’m in love, when I’m hurt, when I need inspiration and when I am frustrated with society’s unwritten rules. Prior to attending the show I listened to the album about 10 times just to make sure I could sing along with every word. Clad in a red t-shirt, paint speckled apron, and flower printed tights Erykah Badu aka “MC Apples” aka “Low Down Loretta Brown” aka “Sarah Bellum” aka “Annie the Alchemist” aka “She ill” aka “Badula Oblongata” aka “Manuella Maria Mexico” commanded the stage with the aura of a warrior princess (as she often refers to herself as).

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Track by track she performed as if she was singing along to her own album in the privacy of her own home. Her outfits and hair were her usual casual, relaxed, attire that could even be considered weird to the average concert goer. However, she uses herself as a mirror for her fans. It’s her way of letting us know that she is one of us. With all of the half naked pop stars gyrating all over stages she continuously displays the confidence that you can stand still in plain clothes and rock a party. The lyrics on the Mama’s Gun album address being insecure (Green Eyes), being in love (In Love With You), and finding your path (Didn’t Cha Know). There’s something on this album for everyone. After performing the entire album she performed “The Healer (Hip-Hop)” in honor of the late amazing hip-hop producer, J Dilla.

Erykah Badu also celebrated a birthday on February 26th. Surprisingly the audience serenaded her with the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday.” A few fans in the middle started the song and next thing you know the entire crowd was singing happy birthday to their favorite artist. It was one of my favorite moments of the night. Artist get on stage and give us all the energy they have. It was nice to feel like we could give something back. She ended her set by thanking everyone humbly multiple times for being fans, for supporting her, and for singing her happy birthday. However, the energy was so amazing that the crowd cheered for an encore. She came back out on stage and rocked out for another 20 minutes with classics like “Love of My Life” “Danger” and the upbeat version of “Bag Lady.”

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The Mama’s Gun album was released 13 years ago. Why did she decide to perform this album live? Could Erykah Badu be working on something new? As a huge fan I cannot take the suspense of questioning whether or not she is about to release something new. Yet, I can’t deal without questioning it either!

Ultimately, I did not want the night to end. She is one of the rare relevant “conscious” artist that speaks her truth in a way that’s not preachy or self righteous. It’s her unapologetic truth that makes you analyze how true you are being to yourself.

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