Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Erykah Badu Says She Is ‘Not An Anti-Semitic Person,’ Praises Hitler

Is it right to separate the art from the artist? Can it ever be appropriate to enjoy the art of a person who may have committed evil acts?

Musician Erykah Badu is taking the question a step further, asking specifically, if the artist is Hitler and the art is paintings made by Hitler, can we enjoy the paintings and, thus the person?

via GIPHY

ERYKAH, NO!

Badu gave an interview to Vulture today, in which she noted, “I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler.” When pressed by the interviewer, she added, “Hitler was a wonderful painter.” (Though when pressed further, she admitted he was a “terrible painter.”)

Badu deserves some understanding though. She explains several times that she is trying to approach the world from a humanist perspective, that she “would never want to hurt people,” not even “a group of white men who believe that the Confederate flag is worth saving.” Her position, that trying to see Hitler as a human being instead of a monster is a useful way to try to process a violent world, isn’t insane or inherently offensive. More troubling, though, is Badu’s refusal to consider that her views might fuel the fire of anti-Semitic rhetoric, causing people to get hurt.

Oh, Erykah. Image by Screenshot from Vulture

Google the phrase “anti-Semitism” and grace us with a thoughtful song about it, Erykah! We’ll even accept a painting.

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.