An evening with Erykah Badu is the sort of thing dreams are made of. A lucky 25 guests got to experience her magic first hand at an exclusive dinner party hosted by the singer-songwriter in honor of her hosting BET and Centric’s Soul Train Awards for the second year in a row. Dim purple lighting set the ambiance in a private loft in downtown NYC as guests trickled in wearing kimonos in an array of colors and patterns at the request of Miss Badu. In fact, everything about the night was permeated with positive vibes and warm energy, an ode to the woman of the hour.
Being a vegan herself, Erykah tapped eco-chef Bryant Terry to prepare a full vegan soul food menu, but first guests were greeted with vegan hors d’ouvres — mini pots of chilli, french fries with maple dipping sauce and more — created by Ghetto Gastro. And tucked away from the frigid New York cold, Erykah’s kimono-clad company sipped on Mouton Noir Wines to keep toasty. The tone was set and everyone was clearly soaking in the host’s aura.
In true Miss Badu fashion, she kicked off the dinner with blessing the food and then, with mouths already watering, guests dived into Chef Bryant Terry’s five-course vegan menu. Instead of the usual course names like “soup” and “starter,” Erykah’s menu had catchy names like “sack full of dreams” and “when there is no sun.” Waiters served up glazed carrots, purple potato soup and BBQ tempeh accompanied by pickled mustard greens. Guests cleaned their palettes with a green tea tonic the colorful menu described as “come into knowledge” and were treated to pies courtesy of Pietisserie.
Erykah Badu with Centric's Kela Walker in their kimonos.
Chef Bryant and his team preps dessert in the kitchen.
The main course of BBQ tempeh, mashed potatoes and oven-roasted kale.
Erykah with her guests enjoying conversation and dinner by Chef Bryant Terry.
After dinner, games commenced — yes, Erykah Badu played dinner games with her guests! And because charades is way too cliché for Miss Badu, she jazzed things up by going around the table and having each person say what brings them happiness, what they could do without and what they love about themselves. Then, in a twist on the Thanksgiving tradition of saying what you’re thankful for, guests picked celebrity names out of a hat and said what they felt that celeb was thankful for. But perhaps the most charmed moment of the entire night came when Erykah closed dinner by reminding everyone of the importance of staying present while expressing her thanks for everyone’s attendance.
If you’ve ever imagined an evening with Erykah Badu, it’s just as soulful as it sounds. Tune in to BET and Centric on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8P/7C to invite a little bit of that soul into your home.
(Photos: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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