Erykah Badu was born Erica Abi Wright in Dallas, Texas on February 26, 1971. Her mother raised her, her brother Eevin, and her sister Nayrok alone after their father, William Wright Jr., deserted the family early in their lives. To provide for her family, the children’s paternal grandmother often helped to look after them while Badu’s mother, Kolleen Maria Wright (née Gipson), worked as an actress in theatrical productions. Influenced by her mother, Badu had her first taste of show business at the age of four, singing and dancing with her mother at the Dallas Theater Center.
By the age of 14, Badu was free-styling for a local radio station alongside such talent as Roy Hargrove. In her youth, she had decided to change the spelling of her first name from Erica to Erykah, as she believed her original name was a “slave name”. The term “kah” signifies the inner self. She adopted the surname “Badu” because it is her favorite jazz scat sound; also, among the Akan people in Ghana, it is the term for the 10th-born child. (Read More)