By Steve Pickett

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DALLAS (CBS11) – She’s sold millions of records, received the music industry’s top awards from the Grammy’s and Billboard Magazine, yet don’t be surprised to see her browsing the aisles of the Dallas Farmers Market.

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Erykah Badu is a world renowned music artist. She’s known to millions as the queen of “Neo Soul,” but the singer-songwriter keeps Dallas as home base.

“I’m five generations of Dallas,” Badu explains, perched in the middle of a river of red chairs that fill the Naomi Bruton Theater in downtown Dallas. The theater is part of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL). It is the venue for Badu’s latest production “Live Nudity,” a one-woman show that highlights Badu’s stage training. “I always wanted to do this. It’s petrifying to do it, and the only place I thought to do it was (TBAAL), she said.

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Born in Dallas as Erica Wright, the music superstar started singing and acting as a child in South Dallas. She would perform roles in presentations reduced by the MLK Rec Center, the Dallas Theater Center and of course, TBAAL.

In 1997, “Erica” became “Erykah,” and her first platinum CD took the music world by storm. Almost 20 years later, the mother of three picks her children up from school, assists as a childbirth doula, supporting moms through labor, and runs her multimedia company Badu World, all from her East Dallas home. She says New York and LA are great, but the graduate of Dallas ISD’s Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts keeps grounded in her hometown. ” I like the smell of the Trinity, the song from the birds.”

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