Erica 'Erykah Badu' Wright was born in 1971 in Texas. Badu was a dance student at Booker T. Washington High in Dallas where she received the nickname "MC Apples" and was a member of a freestyle female rap duo.
Going beyond just a nickname, Badu changed her real name from Erica Wright to Erykah Badu. She felt Erica was her slave name and thus, made it Erykah. Similarly, she changed her last name to Badu as it was similar to the sound she made while scatting. Upon graduating from high school, Badu went to study theater at Grambling State University. However, she decided to leave university in 1993, desiring to pursue music instead.
Erykah Badu has two children. She has a son Seven with ex-boyfriend Andre 3000 of Outkast and a daughter Puma, whose father is reportedly rapper The D.O.C.
Badu is an activist in south Dallas where she has established her own charity organization, Beautiful Love Incorporated Non Profit Development. The organization provides community-driven development for inner-city youth through music, dance, theater and visual arts. To help raise funds for the organization, Badu works with painter Dawn Okoro to hold art shows.
In 1997, she released her first album, Baduizm which was a big success. The album reached #2 on the charts and went 3X platinum. The album's biggest hit was the single 'On & On' which reached #12 on the charts and went gold. In th same year, Badu released the album Live which featured live versions of the tracks from Baduizm. Maintaining the first albums success, Live went double platinum.
Mama's Gun, Badu's follow-up album was released in 2000 and went platinum. The album's biggest hit was 'Bag Lady' which reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts. In 2002, Badu scored another #1 R&B hit with 'Love Of My Life' which was a duet with Common.
In 2003, Worldwide Underground, Badu's most recent album was released and went gold.
Outside of music, Erykah Badu has appeared in several films. She played a role in Blues Brothers 2000, The Cider House Rules, and House of D.