Updated: Feb 11, 2020
My husband and I recently caught BET's Soul Train Awards. I don't get the opportunity to sit down and watch much television. As a matter of fact, it had been a while since I had watched an award show, but I am so glad I caught this one. It was refreshing to see Donell Jones, Jon B and Faith Evans. I always love seeing BBD. I was pleasantly surprised by Jacquees. However, my night was complete when Erykah Badu was honored with receiving the Soul Train Legend Award.
I was just starting my young career in Atlanta when Erykah Badu's Baduizm album dropped in 1997. I'll never forget when I first heard her mellow, yet slightly raspy voice belt out On and On. I was driving around in my little sierra green Toyota Tercel in Marietta, headed to a friend's apartment. The beat was catchy, I was immediately hooked on her sound. But the line that stood out most to me was "If we were made in His image then call us by our names. Most intellects do not believe in god but they fear us just the same." I pondered her words the whole way to my friend's. I couldn't get the thought out of my mind. That entire album was significant for me in that it defined a sound that I had never heard, during a time when I was just beginning to understand and embrace that I was a creative. She inspired me to explore what made me unique and to go with it. That year I released my first poetry book, The Desires of a Woman: Poems Celebrating Womanhood.
And after watching the Soul Train Awards 2018 earlier this week, I realized that I am still in love with Erykah Badu. I love her down-to-earth, yet eclectic and weird eccentric look and vibe. I love her creative ingenuity; she had 3 dress changes without ever leaving the stage. And that voice, it is still as beautiful and powerful as ever.
Watching Erykah in her element, doing the thing that she clearly loves to do, inspired me in the same way that it did when I first heard her voice back in 1997. Although she never rose to ultimate superstardom (I don't think she ever wanted to) she has continued to make good music, her kind of music. I was reminded, by seeing her performance, that an individual doesn't have to always be the most celebrated in the game to be gifted. If no one watches, or if everyone watches, the talent remains real. I am renewed to continue to know who I am, and to unapologetically walk in my unique individuality as I continue to share my creations with whomever chooses to partake.
What is your talent/gift? Do you sleep on it just because it hasn't been celebrated the way you think it should be? Are you afraid to walk in the light you were created to glow from? Maybe you are concerned that people will not accept your gift, or that you will not be able to make enough money following your dreams. Maybe you started your journey toward your destiny, but got sidetracked. If any are the case, be inspired by Erykah Badu and re-energize yourself. Share your talent/gift in a way that only you can. Believe in the finished work that God created in you. Let your light shine and watch others gravitate toward your luminescence.
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15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.