Monday, June 5, 2023

Erykah Badu Talks Tribal Jewels, Menswear & Working Without a Stylist

While we at SPICE begin a month thinking on ‘Tribes’ this month, style icon and soul singer Erykah Badu has been talking on her wardrobe – revealing a love for the traditional jewels of not just one African tribe, but two, and that unlike many of her musician peers, she dresses without the help of a stylist.

In an interview with Vogue Magazine, the 44-year-old artist explains that she is and has always been her own stylist, for both on an off-stage dressing, saying;

 “I make no distinction between what I wear on the street and the stage; it’s all just my style. I don’t work with a stylist, and I never plan what I’m going to wear, it’s always an of-the-moment thing.”

Erykah at this year’s Black Girls Rock event

The former face of Tom Ford and Givenchy (see Riccardo Tisci’s ode to the singer here) said of her statement accessories, which include Egyptian ankh rings baring gems with “healing” qualities, plus ankle bracelets sourced in Swahili that were chosen because she likes “jewelry that makes music when I walk,” that;

“Accessories really are everything for me. I travel with a black body bag full of them when I’m on tour. I’ll threw in my Yoruba beads, my Maasai beads – and there’s space for six hats in my hat box.”

The singer rocking colourful jewels on stage at the BET Honors Awards in 2013

But what’s been signature to her look and helped define her Afrocentric, feminine style, is Ms Badu’s way with a headpiece – the famed “On & On” singer nearly always seen with either a head wrap, a hat, an amazing head of hair or all three, the star saying;

“I’ve always enjoyed dressing my head, whether it’s head wraps, hats, or wigs, I’m not sure why. I think that’s just where my mojo lives.”

Erykah at the 2014 Met Gala, wearing head-to-toe Givenchy
Erykah at the 2014 Met Gala, wearing head-to-toe Givenchy

Badu, who this year took part in a documentary to discover her African roots (which lead her to a village in Bamileke area of Cameroon), also revealed that her confident style began with inspirations from artists like Chaka Khan, David Bowie and funk’s Bootsy Collins, and a strong gravitational pull towards menswear, ever since she was a teen and streetstyle-spotted by The Dallas Morning News, wearing a pair of mens trousers.

“I love shopping in the men’s department and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found those shapes suits my body best.”

We at SPICE would disagree, saying no matter what the star pulls on, it seems to suit her body best and better than anyone else’s – but what do you love most about her style? Tell us what you think to Erykah Badu’s wardrobe below in the comments box, or online @SPICETVAFRICA.


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