Home Girl

1. Erykah Badu Sings and Dances 2. Raises Her Children3. Grows Herbs4. Rides a Skateboard5. Saves Her Old Hood in Dallas6. And Works on Her New Album, Which Will Be Finished When It’s Finished
Badu, photgraphed at her home on October 25th, 2006.
Photograph by Peter Yang

Erykah Badu, known variously over the past decade as the Queen of Neo-soul, the Nefertiti of Hip-hop, and the Woman Who Wears That Thing on Her Head, sat on her couch rubbing Blue Magic conditioner into her daughter’s hair, tying clumps together and wrapping them with rubber bands while she talked about the giant, red, mazelike circle painted on the floor at her feet. “Actually, it’s not a maze,” she said. “A maze is designed to puzzle. It’s a labyrinth—there’s one entrance and one way to the center. It kind of looks like a brain. It’s very meditative. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol; you find them all over Europe and Asia. I wanted to create a nourishing environment, a place I could retreat to when things got too busy for me.”

I couldn’t tell if Puma, who is two and a half years old, with light skin and puffed cheeks, was more unhappy about what

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