In the second installment of the “Origin of Woke” series, Elijah Watson highlights Georgia Anne Muldrow, the musician who introduced Erykah Badu to the word woke.
“To be woke is to be black.”
I posit this thought to Georgia Anne Muldrow, one of the most forward-thinking musicians of our time, as we speak on the phone in early October.
There is a brief silence.
“Woke is definitely a black experience — woke is if someone put a burlap sack on your head, knocked you out, and put you in a new location and then you come to and understand where you are ain’t home and the people around you ain’t your neighbors. They’re not acting in a neighborly fashion, they’re the ones who conked you on your head. You got kidnapped here and then you got punked out of your own language, everything. That’s woke — understanding what your ancestors went through. Just being in touch with the struggle that our people have gone through here and understanding we’ve been fighting since the very day we touched down here. There was no year where the fight wasn’t going down.”
This is only one of many profound insights Muldrow offers on the idea of wokeness during our two-and-a-half-hour talk, and what it’s become since she first uttered the word on Erykah Badu‘s “Master Teacher” a decade ago.
Sure, she’s happy to see the word woke become a rallying cry of resilience for black people in America. But she also doesn’t mince her words on wokeness becoming a performative trend for the masses in recent years.

Read the rest of the interview here: WOKE
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