Erykah Badu on the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards: ‘Music is our Politics’

Host Erykah Badu speaks onstage during the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards at the Orleans Arena on Nov. 6, 2016 in Las Vegas. (Photo: Leon Bennett, Getty Images for BET)
Host Erykah Badu speaks onstage during the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards at the Orleans Arena on Nov. 6, 2016 in Las Vegas.
(Photo: Leon Bennett, Getty Images for BET)

Erykah Badu has seen the future — and it’s black.

“Forget the Jetsons; it’ll be more like the Jeffersons,” the godmother of soul quipped during her opening monologue for the 2016 Soul Train Music Awards, where black excellence took center stage.

Taped at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas earlier this month and airing Sunday on Centric and BET (8 p.m. ET), the ceremony boasted performances by luminaries and rising stars alike, including Brandy, Teddy Riley, Anderson .Paak, Bobby Brown, D.R.A.M., Dru Hill, India.Arie, BJ the Chicago Kid, Guy, Candice Boyd, Carl Thomas, Eric Benét, Tito Jackson and Badu herself.

The 45-year-old singer/songwriter, who reprised her role as host and executive producer this year, joked that her duties seemed to go On & On. “I had to do everything. I had to take out the trash, I had to change the gels on the lights, I had to clip somebody’s toenails. I mean, you name it,” she teased.

But on a serious note, “I did a lot of things, including writing the monologues and writing the intros for some of the presenters, choosing the artists who would perform, and helping to create the segments.”

Badu says her focus was not just on curating a show but rather, an experience. “We knew the artists we chose in sequence would be entertaining the whole way through,” she said. “That’s what I’m concerned about — just the body (and) being able to see all the moving parts together.”

And Badu proved to be a smooth conductor, with Dru Hill starting the Soul Train off with a velvety medley of R&B jams, like Tell Me and In My Bed. Sisqó then revved up the evening with his classic single, Thong Song. At one point, Badu even shifted gears to perform, singing alongside her WiFi collaborator, singer/rapper D.R.A.M., before later joining India.Arie for a stirring duet of the singer’s Black Lives Matter-inspired track, Breathe.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Jaleesa M. Jones