Pop star Erykah Badu — known for her hit songs like "Tyrone" and "Bag Lady" — is no stranger to controversy. In the music video for her 2010 song "Window Seat," the 46-year-old pretended to be shot in the head, a reflection on or mockery of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Most recently, however, Erykah admitted she sees good in everyone, including Adolf Hitler.
"I see good in everybody," she said on Wednesday in an interview with Vulture's David Marchese. "I saw something good in Hitler," to which David responded, "Come again?"
"Hitler was a wonderful painter," Erykah replied. David, clearly confused, asked what "his skill as a painter [had] to do with any ‘good’ in him?" She continued, "Okay, he was a terrible painter. Poor thing."
Prior to being Chancellor of Germany and leader of the Nazi Party, Hitler strove to be a painter. As a young man, however, he was rejected from art school and abandoned his talent.
Almost immediately after the interview was published, Erykah began receiving nasty comments online. "Hitler was the devil himself… There was no good in that thing," one person wrote on Instagram. Another added, "I did read the interview and it was upsetting. I am a god-fearing person, and I believe that Hitler was pure hatred. I don't feel bad for people like that, nor do I think he had anything good in him when he made sure six million Jews were exterminated." A third chimed in, "Hitler not bad, huh? You, Miss Badu, deserve the Donkey of the Year Award for that reprehensible statement!!"
People are in real pain. So I understand why my 'good' intent was misconstrued as 'bad'. In trying to express a point, I used 1 of the worst examples possible, Not to support the cruel actions of an unwell, psychopathic Adolf Hitler, but to only exaggerate a show of compassion.
— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) January 25, 2018
Since then, Erykah has spoken out and said her statement was "misconstrued." On Jan. 25, she took to Twitter to defend herself. "People are in real pain. So I understand why my 'good' intent was misconstrued as 'bad'. In trying to express a point, I used 1 of the worst examples possible, Not to support the cruel actions of an unwell, psychopathic Adolf Hitler, but to only exaggerate a show of compassion." She added, "Either U read the entire VULTURE interview & U understood the message of compassion CLEARLY. OR U only read the selective, out of context Headlines, & were drawn in2 the whirlpool of collective emotional grief. I don't want 2 force U 2understand the way I love. I'm hopeful tho [sic]."
Still, fans aren't buying it. One person commented, "After reading the article… noooooo ma'am. No one twisted your words! Careless statement!" Oops — sounds like it'll take some time for this to blow over.