We love Erykah Badu. She’s fly and her music is everything. But should the neo-soul siren have a park renamed after her? Well, thousands of her fans are trying to make that happen.
In September, a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed from the Dallas park bearing his name. The 14-foot-tall, 6-ton statue depicting Lee on horseback flanked by an anonymous Confederate soldier was erected in what was originally called Oak Lawn Park. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the statue in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial celebration.
The petition to rename Robert E. Lee Park to Erykah Badu Park was started by the Dallas news and entertainment website Central Track and so far it has over 5,000 signatures. The goal is to reach 7,500 signatures.
Thanks to a pair of teen fans, the city of Houston beat Dallas to the punch and proclaimed May 27, 2017 as “Erykah Badu Day.” So here are some of the reasons that motivated Central Track to petition to rename the public space after their hometown shero.
- She’s a goddamn legend, a vocal talent of legit international acclaim.
- Unlike, say, Robert E. Lee, she was born and raised and shaped here in Dallas, making her a relatable role model for our youth.
- Unlike so many other Dallas artists who’ve earned national celebrity, she’s stayed here, and she regularly uses her fame to open the eyes of other national stars to what Dallas has to offer.
- Through her two separate backing bands — one made up of traditional instrumentsand another consisting of area DJs and producers — she employs literally dozens of musicians around town.
- She goes out of her way to encourage other young area artists, even going so far as to pluck them from relative obscurity and collaborate with them on major projects.
- She is a staunch advocate of the arts, having even once owned and managed the Black Forest Theater.
- She’s also an accomplished film actress, and has produced local theater productions, too.
- She is an active advocate and fundraiser for local schools, both in terms of progressive multilingual area upstarts and her own alma mater of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.