A.D. 2000

A.D. 2000

Erykah Badu

“A.D. 2000” is a poignant tribute to 22-year-old Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was shot dead by four plain-clothed members of the New York City Police Department in February, 1999.

Diallo, a street merchant by day and student by night, was outside his apartment in the Bronx on the night of February 5, when he was spotted by four NYPD officers who believed he matched the description of a serial rapist who had been active in the burrough. The officers alleged that they had identified themselves clearly to Diallo, who had run; claiming to have mistaken the wallet he was carrying for a gun, the officers fired a total of 41 shots, 19 of which hit Diallo. Racial profiling, gross negligence and other civil rights violations by the officers were alleged.

All four officers were indicted for second-degree murder, but were subsequently acquitted by a jury in Albany, New York in February 2000, after the trial was moved due to claims that media coverage of the shooting had made a fair trial in New York City impossible. Diallo’s family were awarded a $3,000,000 settlement from the City of New York in a subsequent wrongful death claim.

Badu wrote “A.D. 2000” from the perspective of Diallo. The initialism of the title refers to his name and date of death, Badu explaining:

I didn’t want to call attention to [the name] because so many people were doing songs to Amadou Diallo… So I’d rather do as it as his words, ‘Say, you won’t be naming no buildings after me, to go down dilapidated’.

The title also refers to the year 2000 using the abbreviated Latin term for numbering years, “Anno Domini", meaning "in the year of our lord”, with the year A.D. 1 referring to the traditionally designated date of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

The album release notes credit the writing of the song to “The Wright Sisters”. Soul singer Betty Wright co-wrote the song and contributed backing vocals; Erykah is credited for her contribution under her birth name, Erica Wright.