It all started around 11 pm CST on November 25, 2015. My phone, meant to be on night mode, started ringing. (For those of you without IOS systems, calls only ring through on night mode when the same number tries to call 3 times. The phone assumes it is an emergency and pushes the call through.)
I answered, “This is Amanda.” and the caller said “Sorry wrong number and hung up.”
The calls kept coming till around 3 that morning…I stopped answering them, and thought to myself that some poor family must have had some sort of emergency and my number was close to to the number of the person they were actually trying to reach….little did I know.
The next morning was Thanksgiving and the calls started again around 8 am. Finally, I answered and asked the person on the other end if everything was okay, and told her I’d been praying for her family and whatever emergency was going on. She started laughing and told me that Erykah Badu had told periscope her number and everyone was trying to get a hold of her. My response, “Erica who? Can you spell that?” I had no idea. (Before you judge the fact that I didn’t know her, I just finished traveling over 100K miles around the globe this year, am developing out new content for the Cultural Concierge and am finishing a master’s program. For real…I am out of the entertainment loop big time.) I hung up and headed off to Google. Sure enough a beautiful Grammy winning artist by the name of Erykah Badu had released an album with 3 covers and the number for a burner phone was hidden in those 3 covers. My number was in there, but honestly people had to get super creative to find it….so props to those who called me…you are creative!
I tweeted to Ms. Badu that this was happening but didn’t hear back…I honestly didn’t expect too.
The calls have kept coming, several a day for a week, picking up in consistency and numbers at night. After a full week of these calls…honestly I was over it. The calls started at 10 pm and kept it up till around 3 am. At this point it was over 100 missed calls to my phone. In desperation, I sent a plea out on Facebook to see if any of my friends had connections. My friend Katina (who is also a singer/songwriter) responded that she had gone to school with her cousin and a couple of band members and she would reach out. She did and Ms. Badu’s sweet cousin heard my plea and messaged her immediately. A few hours later, I was on the phone with Ms. Badu herself. She was so kind, so responsive, and so apologetic. We had a great chat and a good laugh about the whole thing actually. She never thought that people would get other people’s numbers in the process. She decided to cancel the campaign – for which I actually felt horrible as it was a super cool campaign. She jumped on Periscope that night told the story and gave out the burner phone number directly. One of the more fun parts of that was to see how many people responded that they had talked to me – I really did answer! In fact, on the last day I’d been told by a fan of hers to answer “call Tyrone” which was a nod to one of her older songs…so I did. “Hello, this is not Erykah…call Tyrone.” and hung up. When I told Ms. Badu she thought that was hilarious!
After the periscope – she sent out this tweet.
We all have our opinions of famous people. We sit in our living rooms and watch them on TV or stand in the grocery story aisle and read the latest rag about them. We judge them. We have incredibly biased opinions that have no real footing, just a decision we made because that one time we heard such and such about them. I am sure some of you have your opinions about Erykah Badu – but here is what I will tell you – She responded immediately when she heard. She responded personally rather than sending an agent or someone else to do her bidding. She responded with grace, character and integrity. She canceled her campaign because of my plight even though she’d had this marketing plan ready for months before this album released. She was kind, gentle and considerate.
So Ms. Badu, thank you. Thank you for being a woman of character, grace and integrity. I cannot wait to meet you in person sometime soon. – Peace & Blessings, Amanda
p.s. I was also interviewed by the Dallas Morning News this morning – at Ms. Badu’s request – you can read that article here.