Erykah Badu in Tel Aviv

January 31, 2008 6:02:40 PM PST
Sporting a huge, billowing Afro and a T-shirt with an anti-Iraq war slogan, Erykah Badu said she identifies with Palestinian hip-hop and expressed support for Louis Farrakhan before a crowd of Israeli fans and journalists Thursday. "I come from across the water bringing light and hope," the 36-year-old singer said. She is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

Badu commissioned a poster for her visit. It features a large hamsa - a traditional Middle Eastern good-luck charm - that appears to be growing out of her hair. At the bottom, the words for peace in Hebrew and Arabic appear side by side.

The singer, who couldn't name any Israeli hip-hop artists, said she identified best with the Palestinians and their hip-hop scene, saying they are part of her "tribe" of hip-hop.

"They use (hip-hop) as a form of liberation, as a form of pre-resistance, as a form of therapy," she said.

She defended Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, whose statements have been labeled "bigoted and anti-Semitic" by the Anti-Defamation League.

"(Farrakhan is) not an anti-Semite. He loves all people," Badu said. Her next album, "Nu AmErykah," will be released Feb. 26, the date of Savior's Day, a Nation of Islam holiday.

Israeli reggae-soul group Karolina and Funset, who will be opening for Badu's concert, posed for pictures with the singer, then joined her in raising the black power clenched-fist salute.


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