Anita Baker Says She Dropped Babyface From Her Tour Over His Fans—But There May Be More to It
The long history between the two artists includes a 2006 lawsuit.
An unexpected feud has the fans of two music heavyweights duking it out on Twitter. On June 13, Anita Baker announced that Babyface had been dropped from her current tour. The announcement came after Baker tweeted that fans of Babyface (a.k.a. Kenneth Edmonds) were harassing her online. Among her many posts on the topic, she also stated that Babyface was not a co-headliner on the tour, as some had believed, but rather a "special guest" and "support act."
Now, Baker and Babyface are going their separate ways as her tour continues. And though Baker has claimed that it's "cyberbullying" by his fans that led to the professional rift, the two musicians also have a history that includes a lawsuit. Read on to find out more.
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The tour first made headlines due to technical difficulties.
Baker's The Songstress Tour celebrates the 40th anniversary of her 1983 debut album The Songstress. The tour, Baker's first full tour since 1995, is taking her to 15 cities and spans from February to December 2023.
On May 10, Baker and Babyface were set to perform in Newark, New Jersey, but a technical difficulty meant that Babyface was asked to not perform at all so that Baker could still perform her full set. His fans were disappointed, and he posted an apology on Instagram and gave a statement to People.
"As advanced as technology is today we are sometimes at its mercy. The video wall was unfortunately not working that day and time wasn't on our side," the 64-year-old said. "I am incredibly sorry to the fans and have nothing but love and respect for Anita. I am very much looking forward to continuing our tour together and will see everyone tomorrow."
Their relationship seemed to sour.
On May 12, Baker tweeted positively about her Belmont Park, New York concert with Babyface, and he replied calling her a "legend" and saying it was an "incredible night." They then performed in Baltimore on May 14, with the next concert scheduled for June 30 in Chicago.
At some point between mid-May and early June, things seemingly took a turn. On June 6, Baker responded to a fan who tweeted about Babyface's New Jersey performance being canceled and blamed her, saying, "Your public statements are false." From there, she continued tweeting that she was being slandered online and had not been supported by Babyface after the cancellation.
"When A friend, is being attacked, by Your friends?… because, of Mis-information/fake news And, You have an Opportunity, to Say Something/Correct it? … It's A Nice, thing. … It's the Right thing to do," she posted on June 9. She also began referring to Babyface's fans as "Kenny's crazies."
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Baker said she dropped Babyface from the tour because of harassment.
On June 13, Baker tweeted, "After Silently, Enduring Cyber Bulling/Verbal Abuse & Threats of Violence from the Fan Base, of Our Special Guest/Support Act. In the Interest of Personal Safety. I will continue, The Songstress Tour, alone. Appropriate refunds will be made."
The day before that, she had tweeted to a Babyface fan, "You are Not, privy to *The Contracts*. Yes, Babyface is Special Guest/Support Act, on My Tour. This False Narrative, of A Co-headliner is creating Unrealistic Expectations & Aggression, from his fans towards me. He should tell you guys, the Truth."
Babyface called the situation "disheartening."
Babyface, who does not use Twitter as frequently as Baker, did tweet his response to being removed from the tour.
"I am saddened by the news that Anita Baker has decided to remove me from 'The Songtress Tour,'" the 11-time Grammy winner said. "It is 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 and I wish her the best for the remainder of her tour."
Babyface and Baker were involved in a lawsuit years ago.
Baker and Babyface's history extends beyond the current tour. In 2006, Babyface filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Baker and claimed she owed him over $250,000, as reported by Billboard. He argued that she did not pay him royalties for their collaboration "Like You Used to Do." He also claimed that they had agreed to perform four concerts together and but that she owed him money because she canceled two of them.
Baker tweeted about the lawsuit on June 6. "Another, Truth?" the 65-year-old wrote. "My company defended & Prevailed against the lawsuit filed, (Not by Babyface, but by his reps. at the time). Kenny, came to me YEARS ago, in the Spirit of Community & WE put It ALL, behind us. & came Together, in Love, Peace, Music & Community & 4giveness."
Twitter loved watching the drama play out.
While Baker claimed that some Twitter users are harassing her, others have simply been enjoying watching the drama play out.
One tweet that has over 11K likes reads, "This Anita Baker/Babyface stuff got me feeling like I'm in grown folks' business."
Someone else wrote, "Babyface fans were sending threats to Anita Baker? Babyface?? Is there a fanbase in music that isn't completely unhinged?"
"The fact that Anita Baker and Babyface have been beefing since 2006, lawsuit and all, why did they both agree to this tour?! Lmao please," another person said.
One Twitter user joked, "'And thus began the war between the forces commanded by Babyface and Anita Baker, a conflict that turned uncle against uncle, auntie against auntie. Suddenly, cookouts became battlefields.'"
Someone else tweeted, "Anita Baker and Babyface beefing via twitter was not on 2023 bingo card." Baker responded to that tweet herself, and wrote, "here is what its All about… P.R. for One Person, [who] needs it. And, one person who does not."