The soul singer has been on tour since February to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her debut solo album, “The Songstress,” and featured singer-songwriter-producer Babyface, Kenneth Brian Edmonds, as an opening act. Now the rest of her tour, which runs through December, will be a solo endeavor.
“I am saddened by the news that Anita Baker has decided to remove me from ‘The Songstress Tour.’ It’s unfortunate and disheartening to see how things have played out via social media,” Babyface said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
Baker said Babyface fans began to harass her online after her May 10 concert in New Jersey. According to several concert attendees’ social media posts, production crew said technical difficulties caused a two-hour delay, which Babyface said stopped him from performing ahead of when Baker was to take the stage.
Representatives for Baker and Babyface didn’t immediately respond to requests for additional comment.
“I am truly sorry to my fans who have been waiting for us to hit the stage this evening at the Prudential Center. I was asked not to perform in order to give Ms. Baker her space and time to perform her show in its entirety,” Babyface posted on Instagram after the show. “My band and I are extremely saddened we didn’t get to perform for y’all tonight.”
In response, some celebrities seemed to sympathize with Babyface, as singer Stephanie Mills offered Babyface a tour spot, and comedian Loni Love commented that she “hoped she [Baker] and her team had improved for the better over the years….”
Comments critical of Baker seemed to increase after Babyface’s Tiny Desk concert was released Friday. Since then, Baker has taken to social media to publicly defend herself.
“It was 9:30pm. *Contractually?… It was WAAAY Past time 4 the Headline Performer, to be On Stage/Anita Baker Support Act did Not Perform,” Baker tweeted Sunday. “I have No Contract with Support Act Not my Call I Did what i was *Contracted 2 do & Love, as Headline Performer, of my Sold Out Concert.”
She also stood on her decision to refer to Babyface as a “support act,” which fans felt diminished his musical success. Babyface has won 12 Grammy Awards and produced more than a dozen chart-topping R&B hits.
“Dearest one. You are Not, privy to *The Contracts*. Yes, Babyface is Special Guest/Support Act, on My Tour,” Baker tweeted in response to one critic Monday. “This False Narrative, of A Co-headliner is creating Unrealistic Expectations & Aggression, from his fans towards me. He should tell you guys, the Truth.”
Though Babyface fans have been vocal, he doesn’t seem to be fighting with the “Sweet Love” singer.
“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 the tour,” he ended his statement.