Tough Love

Mariah Carey’s Emotions was released in 1991. The song Till The End Of Time was one of my on repeat songs. I often wonder why this song and countless other love songs resonate with me. I think it was because I was trying to teach myself what love was supposed to be. I was raised by parents and loved ones of the Jim Crowe era. I wholly believe the love from a black family is hard and often tough to swallow. I have children of my own and whatever unspoken lessons being taught when I was a kid certainly passed into my parenting. I recall often seeing other white parents handle their children so very differently from my own. For a time, my kids knew what not to do in public. But seeing other parents interact with my own kid’s rendered me insecure and questioning my own parenting. I say many times to my kids “I’m not your homeboy. We not friends. “ Raising Black Children Is Different. That struck me tonight dealing with one of my older boys. He’s a lot and it’s not often his fault. Anyway, the night ended not so favorable and consequences ensued – early bedtime, no book. The usual. This time it didn’t feel right. I walked into my son’s room and I said “you know we are best friends, right? We butt heads for a reason and I just want the best for you. We are the same. “ He lit up and smiled from ear to ear. I got it son. You needed to hear that – and I needed to see your beautiful smile to know we were gonna be okay. As we are learning to live together. Brain dump – 🦋 Check out our podcast!!!

Honesty

I’ve been married to my husband for almost 18 years and I have never written a song about our relationship. At times, I’ve tried to analyze why that was and my general feeling is that I have not been given an example of heartbreak to flesh out in lyrical form. I’ve been writing music since I was 7 years old and sad love songs are my whole ass wheelhouse! Anyway, I talked on our upcoming episode about hearing a beautiful song by MAJOR titles Honest. I was laying in bed, crying because this song had such an emotional impact on me. It explained everything I couldn’t say in a son I wrote to my husband. Because I’m wired to focus on the hurtful parts of love and make them beautiful, it has been hard to write about a love affair that is fine. Anyway, I wanted to share this beautiful song and hope someone else finds it comforting to hear that you are not the only one.

I’m tired of giving you less than truth
When truth is what is pulling me through
I’ve been trying to be perfection
When broken is what makes us humanI just want to be honest
I just want to be honest
With all my faults around
I may let you down
I just want to be honest
Ooh… honest
I can’t do it without you
Don’t want to let’s you down, no.

Songwriters: Harmony Samuels / Varren Wade / Major Finley / Edgar EtienneHonest lyrics © Emi April Music Inc., Darkchild Songs, Razor And Tie Music Publishing, H Money Music

Primal Scream (7/2020 by Tamu)

It may be your reckoning, but for some of us, it is our awakening. Realizing that we have been bred to be complacent. To accept little morsels rather than a whole pie as progress. To follow the “status quo” and hope for the best.

To diminish ourselves, to make ourselves invisible, to silence ourselves as a method of self perseveration. To watch, read, and hear about black & brown people getting slain by police, by anyone white who “just feels unsafe” and metaphorically step over their carcasses and move past like it’s nothing in front of others while we scream in out our hearts like our ancestors before us watching lynchings and whippings, and loved ones being stolen.

To stuff the anger, sadness, and pain down deep and put a smile on our faces or provide words of solace to, or be the calm, sounding board; placating and acknowledging “it’s a shame” “but not all police” or “not all whites”.

We wonder why we haven’t been able to explain the sudden depression, immobility, inability to function, intolerance of excuses, and acceptance of “not all”.

The scream is no longer coming from our hearts.

Missing: Sisters of a Darker Shade of Brown (1993/94 by Tamu)

In Episode 4: The Color Chip, I read a writing sample I submitted to newly formed Vibe magazine. Here is the article, with video examples! Enjoy!

The problem is an age old one that many people dismiss as nothing serious, however, what they fail to realize is that no matter ow trifle my observation may seem, it is real and rocks the core of many darker women.

The other day, I was watching music videos when I noticed that the majority of the sexy video vixens were either Latinas or light-skinned brown women with long straight hair. I couldn’t place my finger on exactly what was wrong with that until I watched some more videos and realize that there were no darker brown-skinned women in the majority of music videos. Being a darker brown-skinned woman, I was angered and appalled by this atrocity because I know that there are beautiful darker brown sisters in this world, but, try to find five of them in the next Jodeci video–the odds are you won’t.

Circa 1991 – You know they were hot in those opaque rain suits!

What you will see are dark brown women who are very “natural looking” i.e., short hair–basically shaved close to their heads, skin the color of dark chocolate, and very large, full lips. Although these women are beautiful and sexy, they were not portrayed as such on the video screen; they were either wearing baggy clothes, or backup dancing, or doing some behind the scenes work. An excellent example of this is Portrait’s video “Here We Go Again!; all of the women they were singing to were light-skinned, tall, and slender The only darker brown woman was drowning in a pair of baggy overalls, holding a picture frame. She was a beautiful woman, but no one would take notice of her because she did not look like the other women in the video.

Circa 1992 – There was ONE dark brown lady love interest. What is up with dude’s karate moves?!

I say of this to say that what is seen on the video screen correlates directly into the mainstream of society. Look around at people walking arm in arm on the streets, you’ll see a majority of brown men with white, Latina, or light brown-skinned women. Why? The answer is that baby fine hair and a light honey-coated complexion is what most men are trained to desire and find beautiful. Videos add to this by only showing these kinds of women in music videos. The musicians are acting in accordance with society and doing what they have fantasized about all of their lives; a beautiful, buxom, fair-skinned sex goddess with hair down her back straddling them, rubbing her long fingertips all over their puny “muscular” frames, and , her body dripping wet with her nipples ever extended, making them feel like the most handsome and desired men in the world. Since the majority of men want to feel like men in the videos, they are going to overlook a beautiful darker brown sister and step to the lighter shade of brown.

To the women who love the songs sung by these men; don’t you sometimes feel disappointed when you see who the songs that you think are sung only to you are really being sung to? Isn’t it funny that when a woman has a jam that people love, like Janet, they cover the entire color spectrum so that no one feels left out and men can envision themselves as being seduced but Janet and others like her.

Circa 1993 – Get it, J!
Circa 1993 – Damn, Tish!

To the men who make the video with an equal opportunity flavor, I applaud you and hope that others will take your positive and unbiased view of music being for everyone.