Ericka Basile was born and raised in Johnson City, Tennessee. She studied painting at East Tennessee State University and received an M.A. in visual culture: costume studies from New York University. Her parents, both immigrants from Haiti, met and married in New York City. Basile has African, French and Taíno ancestry and identifies as mixed race and West Indian. She grew up speaking Creole and English with family members and studying French throughout her education. Basile lives in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and works as a writer, artist and independent fashion scholar.