Sunday, November 28, 2021

Erykah Badu on Being a Midwife and Serving On ‘Ushering Committee’

Badu*Anytime Erykah Badu speaks – or sings – fans gain inspiring insight about the artist that is often persuasive enough to motivate one to research an esoteric book or pen a soulful essay in hopes of attaining a similar level of enlightenment. Most recently, Badu chatted with Pitchfork about how she became a doula and what her midwife training is ultimately preparing her for.

Below are some highlights from the interview, (per Clutch):

Erykah says she became a doula by default:
I became a doula by default. I had Seven naturally, at home, and a couple of years later I was traveling through Europe, and one of my best friends, Afya, who is the wife of stic.man from Dead Prez, went into labor. I just wanted to be there with her, so I rerouted my flights and came to Brooklyn. She had already been in labor for about 10 hours, and the whole labor ended up lasting 52 hours. No anesthesia, just pure willpower and whatever else the midwife who was there had to offer. My main focus at that moment was to bring her some kind of peace and strength and will to push forward, because I know how hard that is. I ended up staying with her for 42 hours and I wasn’t sleepy. I naturally knew what to do, and it was then that I figured out that this was something I can do that makes me feel so fulfilled.

Should she ever so desire, one day she will start her own practice:
We don’t know where these babies are coming from—their souls, or their spirits of mind, or if they’re born wholly as soon as they get here—but whatever it is, I just want the environment to be one of tranquility for the mom and dad and everyone involved. A home birth is about being able to create exactly what you want, because it’s such a violent moment inside of the body that you want everything else to be as beautiful as it can be. So I started studying to be a doula and got my certification in 2011 and now I’m in training to become a midwife. I’m almost there and before I know it I’ll be able to open my own practice, if that’s what I desire.

She serves as a bedtime angel, of sorts, for those who are nearing death. Badu refers to her role as being part of the ‘ushering committee’:
I sit at the bedsides of people who are passing on in hospices or nursing homes, for the people and families who want that kind of thing. When people are going on to the next plateau of whatever this thing is called life, I also want them to breathe easily, even if it’s the last one they take here with us. I guess I’m the welcoming committee and ushering committee.

Performing at nursing homes as a little girl helped shape the performer she is today:
I just wandered into a nursing home one day after I dropped my daughter off at dance class. I’ve done this kind of stuff since I was a kid; they usually have a piano in every nursing home, and I always wanted to perform for whoever would listen when I learned something. I grew to understand very early that a lot of these people who are in nursing homes are elderly and don’t have a lot of things that give them joy from day to day. But when I would come and play as a young person, they would just be so excited to see me. I would think, “Wow, this is important work that I’m doing here.” So I just carried that on into adulthood up to now.

Read the full interview here.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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