Yesterday, everyone’s favorite musical unicorn, Erykah Badu, celebrated her 49th birthday with her family and close friends. “This is my last year in the 40s, I’m 49,” she told BET Digital exclusively before speaking about the birth of her new venture, Badu World Market.
“I also had the opportunity to launch Badu World Market on February 20th, and that makes me so very happy,” she adds. The market is Badu’s latest endeavor that was partially inspired by her unique style. “The other part of it is something that’s very dear to my heart, and it’s being an advocate and an activist for artists who have smaller platforms,” she tells us.
In 2015, Badu says that she joined Instagram and now has almost 4 million followers, who Erykah affectionately refers to as her “tribe.”
“Their love and likes become a part of your feed. In that feed, you develop a tribe of people that understand you and support you,” she explains. “In my tribe, I found that so many artists, who are like me, are often unheard and unseen, but their ideas are always borrowed. I wanted to become an advocate for them, and my first focus was to take these artists off people’s mood boards and put them on their payroll by sharing my platform and at the same time offering an opportunity to be a part of a great movement.”
If you were wondering if she plans to collaborate with other fashion designers, there is good news. “Absolutely, not only with the artists that have smaller platforms, but I also desire to collaborate with some of my favorite brands and my favorite fashion brands,” she informs us. “I want to bring my own twist to some of those existing designs and actually getting on the floor with them and creating something new. I’ve always had an eye for things that I see beautiful and aesthetic and I want to share that with anybody. I think any girl deserves it.”
One of the items that have become viral is her “Premium Incense”, Badu P***y, which sold out in just 19 minutes. When we asked her if she expected it to sell out in such a short amount of time, she responded yes but expressed she did not imagine that the word would spread so quickly, forcing her to put it on the market.
“I did an interview with Ten Magazine, and I mentioned all of the products, but that is the one they highlighted and every other blog, magazine, and journalist picked up on it because of the word ‘p***y’,” she explains.
Speaking of her lady flower, we had to get the scoop on why she thought it was important to create incense that represents her essence. “First of all, I’m Erykah Badu,” she says with realness. “Secondly, in this industry, it’s a legend that my box changes people. It changes their influences, their religion, their politics and everything else. So, that’s why I decided to do it. I feel like everybody deserves it.”
So what are the premium incense made of? Was the incense created using ashes from her underwear? According to Ms. Badu, a woman never shares her secrets. “I cannot divulge all of the ingredients. That just has to remain a myth.” However, she did indulge us in why it was important to create the scent for everyone.
“It’s a victory for us, as women, because those things have been so taboo. Women are taught to be ashamed of our womanhood, our periods, our femininity, our hormones, our PMS, and all those things that are a part of this world,” she explains. “There are all these beautiful young women who Mama’s Gun created, and when I say that, I mean I’ve been talking about these things from the beginning of time,” she continues. “I feel like we finally have a platform to speak how we want, to say what we want, and we don’t have to behave or speak a certain way or hide what we feel."
Erykah also feels as a woman and mother of two daughters, it is important that women know that they have a strong voice, opinion, and a point of view that doesn’t have to be muted or edited. “For young women like yourself, I want this to serve as an example of how heroic and beautiful we are.” She also adds, “My p***y should be enough. We shouldn’t have to explain how, why, who and what— it is what it is. You deserve my p***y incense and that is what I’m trying to tell you.”
Ms. Badu is not just serving us incense and clothing, she also intends on adding natural beauty items and other essentials that will make everyone feel good. “I’m going to introduce some of those beauty secrets and products to you guys very soon,” she informs. “All through the years, people always asked me where I get this or that, and I’ve always had the idea to introduce these things to people and make them available. Every girl needs to feel good because when you feel good, I think you look good. I think it’s all about your smile and your smell.”
Ms. Badu feels that the beauty department of her store will be the most important thing to the Badu World Market because she will be able to offer healing products and items that will help people heal molecularly and cellularly heal. “We deserve real things from the earth that helps to really make a difference in our bodies, not just things that put a Band-Aid on the situation. I’m dedicating my time and the rest of my life to bringing those things to you.”
As a doula, Badu plans to sell products for women who are giving birth and aiding in the birth process, “All of this is a part of our womanhood.”
For the men, Badu has not forgotten about you. She is going to have plenty for the men as well. “As a balancing thing, I don’t only offer products for women but for men too. We’re all in this together.”
(Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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