In a new interview for “The Jason Lee Show,” the R&B legend dispelled ongoing speculation of a fallout between him and the veteran entertainer. He also addressed complaints about him being considered a special guest of the tour and not a co-headliner.
“First of all, I have no problem being a support act for Anita Baker,” Babyface began. “I’ve got much love and respect for her art, and it was her show. So, I have no issue with that … I love her as a writer, as an artist, and it’s a beautiful experience.”
“It was Anita Baker show from the get-go. She asked me to join her, and that’s what I did,” noted the Grammy Award-winning songwriter. “I did not come on there with the intention I’m a co-headliner. It was her show, that’s clear, and I have no problem with that.”
Baker caught flak from his alleged fans when she recently tweeted that Babyface should inform the public of his tour status. In a June 12 tweet, she said he should “tell you guys, the truth” about him being a special guest.
Throughout her days’-long tirade, Baker also disclosed details about the slew of issues that caused a two-hour delay of their New Jersey show last month.
In the interview, Babyface addressed his being “asked not to perform,” claiming he and his band offered to go on stage while the crew worked to fix the issue. However, his resolution was not accepted. “That wasn’t an option,” he said.
As previously reported, fans were disappointed when technical difficulties prevented the crooner from performing his opening set during Baker’s “The Songstress” May 10 tour stop.
Babyface issued a public statement informing his supporters why he was unable to go on stage, which, unbeknownst to him at the time, ignited a digital flurry of criticism toward the “Sweet Love” vocalist.
“The only reason I ultimately posted something is because people were booing,” he explained about his statement that was shared online. “And then there were DMs coming in saying, ‘Babyface is a no-show, and I didn’t want that to be the story.”
Weeks later, Baker, 65, began responding to tweets blaming her for the botched May 10 show. She defended herself and explained that issues with the video wall and other hindrances were to blame, not her. She also said that Babyface should have issued a statement to “call off” his alleged fans, whom she dubbed “Kenny’s crazies.”
He never issued a message responding to the uproar, and thus far he has only spoken about the digital blowout in detail with Jason Lee. While the “Caught Up In the Rapture” artist felt compelled to address the public and defend herself, Babyface said he was left in disbelief by the turmoil.
“In all reality, for everything to go as crazy as it did, that was never my intention … that’s not my heart. I don’t even, I can’t believe it rolled out that way it rolled out, but hence there’s social media, and that’s what, you know; that’s what happens at this point,” he said.
The music icon further said, “I don’t have control over any of those fans … The thing is, there’s nothing I could say to say, ‘Hey, you stop it.’ I don’t even know who they are … We don’t make people do what they do. We write music; we perform it.”
He went on to say he was saddened to know that Baker identified the trolls as his fans. “I don’t know them,” Babyface said.
“I don’t know them personally. And usually, if someone’s coming with something negative, I don’t pay attention to them, I don’t give them air, I don’t engage with them, you know, because if you start the fire, it’s just going to go worse. If you deal with ugly, it gets uglier,” he said.
The “Two Occasions” vocalist said he could not speak to certain specifics of Baker’s tweets, such as whom she referred to as “the white man” and the “massa.” On June 13, it was revealed that Baker had booted him from the tour.
“In the Interest of Personal Safety. I will continue, The Songstress Tour, alone. Appropriate refunds will be made. Blessings,” she wrote.
In a released statement, Babyface said it was “unfortunate and disheartening to see how things have played out via social media. While I was looking forward to the rest of the dates, I have nothing but love & respect for Anita…”
He further noted, “We had a great relationship, my relationship with Anita has been fine. I don’t fight people, we don’t go at it. We’re very nice to each other… My thing with Anita, personally, has been fine. And I cannot speak ill of her and I never will.”
Some of the reactions to Babyface’s remarks about the alleged “R&Beef” include:
“Lmaooooo Chillleeee Jason was throwing them traps and Babyface was playing dodge ball lmaooo he answered go gracefully and seems so kind and humble.”
“Messy is a state of mid. Great interview Babyface. This is what maturity sounds like !”
“I respect the fact that he did not drag Anita in the mud and he cleared things up. Kudos to you Babyface. You are a class act and a legend.”
At this time, Babyface says he is working to put together his own show, and continues to wish Baker success as she continues her tour.