It’s Time The City Of Dallas Recognized One Of Its Greatest Ever Hometown Products’ Accomplishments. And That’s Why We’ve Launched A Petition To Make This Happen.
With today’s 13-1 city council vote in favor of removing the Robert E. Lee statue from Robert E. Lee Park in Uptown — and then the city immediately dispatching crews to get on its tear-down this afternoon only to, it would appear, get temporarily delayed thanks to the quick filing of a restraining order — it would seem that there’s no stopping the forward motion of this train.
But where do we take things from here? Specifically, if we’re game to remove the statue bearing Lee’s image, we can’t just keep on calling this lot of land Robert E. Lee Park now, can we? Of course not. What should we call it, though?
Hey, we have an idea! Let’s name it after Dallas native Erykah Badu. Moving forward, let’s call this public space Erykah Badu Park.
Lord knows the renowned R&B singer deserves that distinction. Hell, they already named a whole day after her down in Houston, recognizing her many accomplishments and all that she’s done to inspire young artists around the state, and somehow beating Dallas to that punch. Naming a local park after her would go a long way toward making up for that misstep, for sure.
But, also, she seriously deserves this kind of recognition! Let’s just run down a brief list of why:
- She’s a goddamn legend, a vocal talent of legit international acclaim.
- Unlike, say, Robert E. Lee, she was born and raised and shaped here in Dallas, making her a relatable role model for our youth.
- Unlike so many other Dallas artists who’ve earned national celebrity, she’s stayed here, and she regularly uses her fame to open the eyes of other national stars to what Dallas has to offer.
- Through her two separate backing bands — one made up of traditional instruments and another consisting of area DJs and producers — she employs literally dozens of musicians around town.
- She goes out of her way to encourage other young area artists, even going so far as to pluck them from relative obscurity and collaborate with them on major projects.
- She is a staunch advocate of the arts, having even once owned and managed the Black Forest Theater.
- She’s also an accomplished film actress, and has produced local theater productions, too.
- She is an active advocate and fundraiser for local schools, both in terms of progressive multilingual area upstarts and her own alma mater of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
And that’s just the stuff we came up with off the top of our heads! Plus, we didn’t even get into her work as a doula, and the fact that she has helped usher a number of young Dallasites into this world through that work!
Seriously, this one is a no-brainer, folks. Badu totally merits this recognition. It’s almost embarrassing that she hasn’t been given it yet, to be frank. Another, perhaps more culturally savvy city probably would’ve already bestowed it upon her.
That’s why we’ve reached out to councilman Philip Kingston, whose district the park is in, to suggest this renaming. He says we should bring it up at this week’s Confederate staue removal task force meeting on the issue. We might do that!