Erykah Badu Shares Her Opinion On Politicians Bashing The Meaning Of ‘Woke’

Erykah Badu sat down with MSNBC’s host Ari Melber for a lengthy discussion. The two touched on cannabis, the so-called war on drugs, her originality as an artist, and much more. 

During the nearly hour-long conversation, Melber unearthed lyrics from Badu’s record, “Master Teacher,” a song from Badu’s 2008 album, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War). On it, Badu reflects on social issues, culture, and other ills while warning listeners to stay awake to what’s happening. 

“We did start a lot of stuff on there,” Badu told Melber. “In that song “Master Teacher,” the chorus is, ‘I stay woke,’ so ‘stay woke’ was introduced to the world by way of this album ‘New Amerykah Part One.’”

When asked about politicians placing the term in a negative context and using it as a political tool to gain votes, Badu believes they are talking about Black people. Melber played clips of Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump using the term, attempting to bash the word in front of their supporters. 

“I think they mean Black. Yeah, it’s just another way to say ‘thug’ or something else, right?” Badu said. “It is what it is. It doesn’t belong to us anymore. Once something goes out in the world, it takes a life of its own.”

The four-time Grammy Award-winning artist added: “I can tell you what it means, it just means being aware, being in alignment with nature because if you’re in alignment with that, you’re aware of everything that’s going on.”

Badu continued: “It’s not only in the political arena. That means with your health. That means in your relationships. That means in your home. That means in your car. That means in your sleep.”