Erykah Badu doesn’t have to make a single record again and will still be loved by millions.

Her music is timeless. Her voice is electric and her lyrics will make you either, dance, cry, shout or think. Either way, you’re going to feel where Fat Belly Bella is coming from, especially when it deals with matters of the heart. Here are five R&B love lessons taught by Ms. Badu.

1)  You should first know who you are before finding love. – “Orange Moon”

Unless an artist directly grants meaning to the inspiration behind their song lyrics, they’re subject to personal interpretation. Whether the individuals depicted in Badu’s “Orange Moon” are meant to represent her relationship with her son or romantic love found, the musical work is full of confidence, knowing who you are and who you belong to:



Many nights he was alone
Many, many, many nights
His light was so bright that they turned away
And he stood alone

Every night and every day

Then he turned to me
He saw his reflection in me
And he smiled at me when he turned to me
Then he said to me

How good it is, how good it is
How good it is, how good it is

There’s a tremendous level of pride and satisfaction that comes with knowing who you are as a person. You are also able to recognize those who are good for your soul. “Orange Moon” teaches us the importance of fostering a relationship with self. Only then will you ever be truly happy with someone else.

2) The joys of falling in love …- “Love of My Life”

Who can forget “Love of My Life?” This classic duet featuring Common is not only reminiscent of an epic urban 90s love tale, but exemplifies the ups and downs of young love; and while someone may not play the role that you imagine, you cannot forget their significance in your life.

I met him when I was a
Little girl, he gave me
He gave me poetry
And he was my first
But in my heart I knew I
Wasn’t the only one
‘Cause when the tables turned
He had to break up

Whenever I got lonely
Or needed some advice
He gave me his shoulder
His words were very nice

But that is all behind me
‘Cause now there is no other
My love is his and his is mine
A friend became the
Love of my life

You’ll never forget your first love. It’s the one true experience that sets love in motion and when listening to this track, you can’t help but to take a little trip down memory lane.

3) When to take space.- “Window Seat”

No matter how in love you may be, taking space and autonomy is critical to your sanity and relationship. In her song, “Window Seat,” Fat Belly Bella eloquently details that feeling we all get: the need to escape from it all if only for a minute, especially when you feel like you’re being taken for granted and unappreciated:

So can I get a window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
A look around
And a safe touch down
 
Window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a chance to fly
A chance to cry
And a long bye bye
But I need you to want me
Need you to miss me
I need your attention
I need you next me
I need someone to clap for me
I need your direction
Somebody say come back

4) To be careful with determining who to call your own. – “Appletree”

Who we choose to involve ourselves with will undoubtedly be a reflection of who we are. “Appletree” reminds us of the importance of being aware of the company that we keep and the energy that we are attracting at all times.

See I picks my friends like I pick my fruit
& Ganny told me that when I was only a youth
I don’t walk around trying to be what I’m not
I don’t waste my time trying ta get what you got
I work at pleasin’ me cause I can’t please you
And that’s why I do what I do
My soul flies free like a willow tree
Doo wee doo wee do wee

And if you don’t want to be down with me
You don’t want to pick from my appletree
And if you don’t want to be down with me
Then you don’t want to pick from my appletree
And if you don’t want to be down with me
Then you don’t want to pick from my appletree
And if you don’t want to be down with me
You just don’t want to be down

“Appletree” reminds us that in all areas of life, we must choose wisely.

5) Sometimes, it just isn’t meant to be.- “Next Lifetime”

We all want that “happily ever after,” but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Either you’re with someone else, the one you love is in a committed relationship or you simply cannot see eye to eye, there’s no escaping disappointment and heartbreak. Tough decisions have to be made and unless you’re interested in being someone’s side piece, you either wait your turn or move on and say, “I guess I’ll see you next lifetime.”

Your energy, feels so damn good to me
It picks me up don’t want to come down
You got me spinning all around
Yeah
You need to know
I’ve got that somebody
You’re beautiful
But it ain’t that kind-a party nowww

Now what am I supposed to do
When I want you in my world
How can I want you for myself
When I’m already someones girl?

Shantell E. Jamison is a senior editor for EBONY. She moderates various events centered on love, relationships, politics and wellness and has appeared on panels throughout the country. Her book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction” is available now. Keep up with Shantell via her website, Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.



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