In a recent interview with the outlet, Badu reflected on her 2008 album New Amerykah Part One, in which she invoked the word with her verse "I stay woke."
"We did start a lot of stuff on there," the music star said of her past album.
Badu referred back to the term when supporting the Russian band Pussy Riot in 2012, which is when she said "woke took off."
During the interview, host Ari Melber showed Badu examples of recent GOP attacks against the word from when Donald Trump described woke in 2021 as "fascism that will destroy our nation" to when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in 2022 that his state is where "woke goes to die."
Badu then shut down Republicans for "hijacking" the word, MSNBC reports.
“I think they mean Black… yeah… it’s just another way to say ‘thug’ or something else, right?” Badu said.
"It is what it is. It doesn’t belong to us anymore," the singer continued. "Once something goes out in the world it take a life of its own.”
The artist then offered her own definition of woke.
“I can tell you what it means,” Badu said. “it just means being aware… being in alignment with nature, because if you’re in alignment with that you’re aware of everything that’s going on.”
Check out Badu’s MSNBC interview below.