Erykah Badu & Wooden Floors

New Orleans is well known for colorful shotgun homes, but I don’t think I was in a shotgun house the first time Erykah Badu’s voice hit my ears. The house had to be a townhome of sorts. I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, from about 1999 to 2001. The culture there is so captivating it still lingers in my mind ‘to this day. One of my most paramount memories is when I fell in love with Erykah Badu and the wooden floors. The wooden floor fascination may seem trivial but take a walk with me. Oklahoma has got to be one of the most affordable places in the United States to live but not for me! Give me my expensive rent and my wooden floors. My family and friends jokingly call me bourgeois. I assure you I am not. Let’s dig a little deeper. Imagine being five or six years old in a foreign place with no other children to play with. There’s no furniture in the house. It’s just you, a boombox playing Erykah Badu, and wooden floors. You would fall in love too if that was all you had. My initial attraction to Erykah Badu’s music started with her instrumentals. The beats moved me in a way I had never experienced. Her image yelled originality. I could relate to how she embraced our culture, from her clothes to her hair and the hints of jazz in her music. She made it okay to be different. I can vividly remember lying on the wooden floor staring at the boombox. The room was dark. The only light was the bathroom light on my left. I had no clue this experience would catalyst my love story with R&B, Neo Soul, Indie Soul, and expensive living spaces.

Artra Nelson

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