There are few people in history who have earned as much hatred as Adolf Hitler managed to for the things that they did during their lives. Indeed, Hitler remains one of history’s most hated villains, and easily the most hated world leader of the 21st century. This makes it all the more shocking that hip-hop ‘singer-songwriter’ Erykah Badu would say she “saw something good in Hitler.” She also said that Hitler’s childhood might be a mitigating factor when judging Adolf for the slaughter of six million innocents.
However, that is precisely what Erykah Badu said in response to a question from an interviewer working for Vulture. The interview covered a wide variety of topics but came off the rails when it turned into a discussion about Erykah Badu’s past statements on her love for Louis Farrakhan.
The question was designed to ask about her statements in a 2008 Haaretz interview, in which Badu said that she followed Louis Farrakhan and professed to be a fan of his works and his views. This was a strange statement for Badu to make to Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper) while in Israel, especially because Louis Farrakhan has such a well-documented history of making anti-Semitic statements.
Erykah Badu’s response certainly did nothing to quell suspicions that surfaced in 2008 that she was an anti-Semite. Badu’s response to questions about her support for Farrakhan was that “I’m not an anti-Semitic person. I didn’t even know what anti-Semitic was before I was called it. I’m a humanist. I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler.”
There’s not much positive to be said about Adolf Hitler, the person he was, or the things that he did in life, and the Vulture’s interviewer, taken aback by Erykah Badu’s statement, tried to give Erykah a chance to clarify her statement, saying “come again?” However, Erykah Badu doubled down on her earlier statement, saying that “Hitler was a wonderful painter.”
The interviewer, further taken aback and now attempting to find something sensible in Erykah Badu’s comment, asked for some sort of clarification and pointed out (rightly so) that despite popular belief, Adolf Hitler’s art was terribly mediocre (which it was). Erykah’s responses continued to make little sense.
When pressed on her strange commentary on Adolf Hitler and his art, Erykah went on to say that “okay, he was a terrible painter. Poor thing. He had a terrible childhood. That means that when I’m looking at my daughter, Mars, I could imagine her being in someone else’s home and being treated so poorly, and what that could spawn. I see things like that. I guess it’s just the Pisces in me.”
After this statement, the interviewer asked Badu if she was essentially “turning the idea of empathy into an empty abstraction,” to which Badu replied, “maybe so.” She also admitted that she didn’t “have the most popular opinion sometimes.”
Erykah couldn’t even finish the interview without finding some other opportunity to put her foot in her mouth. She declared her love for Bill Cosby, who has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, as well as praising “what he’s done for the world.” This statement, at least, could be forgiven; after all, there is no evidence, aside from hearsay, suggesting that Bill Cosby did anything wrong, and one could be forgiven for refusing to believe a claim without evidence.
However, in her next statement, Erykah Badu stated that she believed Cosby hurt people, saying “the people who got hurt, I feel so bad for them. I want them to feel better, too. But sick people do evil things; hurt people hurt people. I know I could be crucified for saying that because I’m supposed to be on the purple team or the green team. I’m not trying to rebel against what everybody’s saying, but maybe I want to measure it. Somebody will call me and ask me to come to a march because such and such got shot. In that situation, I want to know what really happened.”
All things considered, Erykah Badu’s vapid answers to the questions posed by the Vulture interviewer suggest the same thing that her statements supporting Louis Farrakhan suggest; she’s simply not that bright outside of the music scene she belongs in. She might also be anti-Semitic, as almost anyone would say that Adolf Hitler was a bad person who did nothing positive for anyone in his life.
This interview highlights something that is becoming more apparent with each passing day; looking to celebrities for intelligent political opinion is a mistake. Apparently, Erykah Badu’s political opinions include the ideas that the obnoxious black separatist Louis Farrakhan is a good person, as is Adolf Hitler, and that even if Bill Cosby hurt people, he still deserves to be praised for portraying a good father on television.
If there is one takeaway from this interview, it is this: most celebrities know next to nothing about the world outside of their tiny spheres of existence. Take their political opinions with a grain of salt.