Erykah Badu’s Birthday Party Was Blessed By Big Names.

Once Again, The Dallas Icon Celebrated Her Birthday At The Bomb Factory Surrounded By Famous Friends. And, Once Again, She Shined Brighter Than Them All.

All photos by Jonathan Stafford.

OK, let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, for the third year in a row, Dallas icon Erykah Badu hosted her birthday party at The Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum, and yes, once again, she did so with a litany of celebrities in tow.

For the sake of those keeping count at home, here is a list of some of the more notable personalities who, alongside the usual list of area heroes who make up her backing band, we can confirm joined Badu on stage at this event:

  • Comedian Dave Chappelle
  • Rapper Yasiin Bey, better known to the world as Mos Def
  • Genre-bending singer Anderson .Paak
  • Rapper/singer D.R.A.M.
  • Actress Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Millennial icon Willow Smith
  • Rap duo Dead Prez
  • Rapper and digable Planets member Ladybug Mecca
  • Comedian Michael Blackson
  • Dallas singer and producer Picnictyme
  • Dallas rapper Dorrough
  • Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions
  • Dallas radio personality and emcee Headkrack

There were other bold-faced names, almost certainly. But, in the whirlwind of it all, it was tough to keep track of them all. Hell, it was tough to just keep up. As is par for course at these things, Friday night’s affair was more of a marathon than a sprint, with doors opening at 7 o’clock and festivities running right on through to 2 a.m.

And, per tradition, fans who stuck things out to the very bitter end were rewarded: Following an extended set from the birthday girl herself (well, close enough; she celebrated this, her 47th birthday, three days before the actual date, which is today), Badu was joined on stage by pretty much all of the above-listed names for a camera opp that found many of them taking turns on the microphone to serenade the host of honor — and none with more charisma than Badu’s close pal Dave Chappelle. As he did two years ago when he grabbed the mic and joined Badu’s backing band in covering Radiohead’s “Creep“, Chappelle once waited for the majority of the room to clear out before grabbing the mic and performing another legendary song, this time Prince’s “1999,” which the Stream Music TV crew was able to catch on camera:

Unlike previous years’ offerings, though, this year’s affair was different in that, essentially, the whole entire proceeding was a surprise. Whereas past affairs at least hinted at a lineup of performers, this year’s deal was promoted on the promise of surprises, but nothing outwardly confirmed. From local hero Picnictyme’s opening set to the short offerings from Dead Prez, D.R.A.M. and Dallas’ own DJ Jay*Clipp before Badu’s own performance, nothing was truly anticipated by this crowd, which in turn ate every stage arrival up.

Still, none of those appearances were anywhere near as commanding as Badu’s, who used this night to offer up more than an hour’s worth of her own hits to the crowd, and in as sassy and compelling a fashion as ever. It’s easy, perhaps, to lose oneself in the list of celebrity names at an affair like this and forget the name at the center of it all. But the lesson to be gleaned from Friday night’s bash was, appropriately, to show how bad a mistake that would be. Listed within Friday night’s collection of bold-faced guests, Badu’s name was indeed the boldest — a testament not just to the deferential way that the other names treated her, but to the gravitas she inherently boasts.

There is no other talent in Dallas that could assemble an award show caliber roster of talent together for such an affair because there is no other talent in Dallas — or perhaps anywhere, really — like Badu. There is a reason why controversy follows her, why an aura of mystique has been projected onto her and why celebrities like Chappelle, Pinkett Smith and D.R.A.M. go so out of their way to stand by her side.

It’s because she’s an icon, and Dallas’ greatest at that — something this party perhaps needlessly but also importantly serves to remind everyone of on a yearly basis.

To that end, since we opened this piece with a list, let’s also end it with one — y’know, once more for the folks keeping score at home. So, here it is, a list of people capable of pulling off anything even remotely resembling what Badu did in Dallas on Friday night:

  • Erykah Badu

She’s truly in a league all her own.

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