In a cannabis industry where much of the time the people of note entering from other walks of life to start their brands have been men, Erykah Badu is about to be one of the most celebrated females ever to enter the space she’s been in since 2020.
From an outsider’s perspective on the chessboard, it seemed the moves she was making in the build-up to the March 8 launch of her That Badu line at Cookies made a lot of sense. She went with better genetics than some of her peers entering the space and was working with a solid retail partner. We’ve always found that one of the most giant red flags recently is when a celebrity brand launch coincides with the launch of whatever mechanism that’s getting you the weed. Badu went the opposite direction in working with an established retailer.
That Badu is a cross between Lemonchello and Jet Fuel Gelato. It will be available in eighths and pre-rolls for its International Women’s Day launch on March 8. Expect more offerings from the line in time for Mother’s Day.
Badu’s first cannabis line, Apple Trees, launched in February 2020. Unfortunately, the world closed a few weeks later so the launch got lost in the news that was focused on some of the biggest sales weeks in the history of California cannabis as people feared dispensaries would close.
But the cannabis world is a lot chiller at this moment with the exception of what small farmers are going through and crime waves. And getting the launch in a month and a half before 4/20 to avoid the noise was a good play, too.
Our chat with Badu started with the fact she is a busy lady, a multi-platinum recording artist with plenty of things on her plate. What made her want to enter the cannabis space in addition to the wellness work she’d already been involved with for a long time?
“I’ve always been an advocate and interested in cannabinoids,” Badu told L.A. Weekly. “My first band is called The Cannabinoids. We are all on the electronic drum machines, nine of us, and we just improv.”
The conversation quickly moved to her work as a doula she started over 20 years ago and how much that actually intertwined with her new cannabis endeavor over the years. Doulas can assist new families in the build-up, during and after the birthing process, or help families with the transitions that come with death and provide emotional support.
“I became a doula in 2001 and as a birth and death doula; many of my mothers and patients use cannabis in many different ways,” Badu explained.
And more personally than those she supports through her doula work, cannabis has long been a part of Badu’s early morning ritual as she works to find alignment for the day or whatever message she needs to hear in that moment.
“It brings clarity, and the aroma is also part of the ritual. The smoking is also a part of the ritual, the breathing, inhaling and blowing and exhaling,” Badu said. “All these things have been very instrumental in my creativity as an artist, as a very busy entrepreneur, and as a mother who has to work in a very masculine world. It helps me not forget who I am and that I am also important.”
Badu is currently a resident of Texas. She is sitting in hopes of the chains moving on legalization in the near future. If people used football metaphors more to try and legalize it, they probably would; nevertheless, Badu is working on a CBD permit. As proven by many in the past, she thinks getting her infrastructure in place with CBD stuff and making the move to recreational when Texas goes legal is the move. Certainly, a fair take.
Texas isn’t the first place that comes to mind when people think of cannabis reform, but it was a long slow process in many places. Texas is now in the midst of that process — it’s just one of those places that started a bit later. Given this, we asked Badu how private she feels like she has to ever had to be about her own use.
“Exactly. That’s why we can have conversations about it, but we have to be very careful with those types of things,” Badu replied. “So now that it’s being introduced, as a prospective license, we can have more conversations and I will be at the forefront of the legalization. I will use my voice for this. And I’m specifically interested in cannabinoids and women.”
Badu noted, while everything in the product line kind of caters to or comes from a feminine perspective, it’s definitely high-end product meant for whoever wants to smoke heat. But you’ll see plenty of feminine notes, like the packaging mimicking the oriental ceramides Badu has become fond of over the years.
“I was thinking, what kind of vessel will this be in? What kind of packaging, what colors, with flowers?” Badu said. “I first thought of porcelain and the Oriental and Persian vases and tea sets, and those types of things.”
Badu noted she’s also excited about the mushroom tea she’s working on. We asked what it’s like to be diving into the psychedelic space and if it ever felt like psychedelics had been demonized in communities of color.
“Maybe demonized is a heavy word, I would say for sure misunderstood,” Badu said.
Badu argues when something is misunderstood, it’s often abused and mishandled. Her new mushroom teas will be called That Badu technologies. The first is meant to be a coffee substitute for during the day and the second is the psychedelic one, which she noted can be used in ritual work of any kind.
Keep an eye out for That Badu to expand across California in 2023.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.