Erykah Badu is raising eyebrows with comments she made about Adolf Hitler.
In a new interview with Vulture, the R&B singer addressed a controversy over not denouncing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan over his alleged anti-Semitism.
“So I’d gone to Palestine,” Badu responded, “and journalists asked me, ‘Do you believe in Louis Farrakhan? Do you follow him?’ Sure I do. I’ll follow anyone who has positive aspects… But I’m not an anti-Semitic person,” the 46-year-old continued. “I don’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.”
After Vulture writer David Marchese responded, “Come again?” Badu replied: “Hitler was a wonderful painter.”
After Marchese pushed Badu on the idea that being skilled as a painter meant Hitler had “good” in him, Badu said, “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.
“I don’t care if the whole group says something, I’m going to be honest. I know I don’t have the most popular opinion sometimes,” Badu added.
Marchese continued to push back on Badu’s comments, to which she asked, “Why can’t I say what I’m saying? Because he did such terrible things?”
Badu then attempted to clarify, adding, “I don’t walk around thinking about Hitler or Louis Farrakhan. But I understand what you’re saying: ‘Why would you want to risk fuelling hateful thinking?’ I have a platform, and I would never want to hurt people. I would never do that. I would never even imagine doing that. I would never even want a group of white men who believe that the Confederate flag is worth saving to feel bad. That’s not how I operate.”
During the interview, Badu also spoke about her thoughts on Bill Cosby, who has been accused by numerous women of rape.
“I love Bill Cosby, and I love what he’s done for the world,” Badu said. “But if he’s sick, why would I be angry with him? 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.”
The Roots’ Questlove responded to seeing tweets about Badu’s comments by saying he wouldn’t be reading their source.
After generating a lot of heat on Twitter, Badu stood by her comments and asked fans to read her statements in their entirety instead of believing the media’s outlandish “spin” in headlines.
Many on Twitter voiced their confusion and outrage at Badu’s comments on Hitler and Cosby.