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You and I Drove D’Angelo to Drink

dangelo_shot.jpgDid any of you read that D'Angelo piece in SPIN? If not, don't, because then you will feel guilty. You see, when D'Angelo did his naked "Untitled" video, people all of a sudden thought he was a sex symbol. Then, at his concerts, women (and maybe the occasional Uncle Spanky) would scream for him to "Take it off!!!" like the funky breakdown to a 2 Live Crew song. D'Angelo--unlike so many women that are actually able to deal with objectification without having a breakdown of sorts--had a breakdown of sorts. The whole "Untitled" thing was supposed to be a one-shot deal, but it worked so many of us into a sweaty, animalistic frenzy that it overshadowed his art. Shame on us! Because Voodoo was a masterpiece. The kind of funky, spiritual and provocative work we yearn for artists to deliver but they never do, because they are obsessed with things like attention, "paper" and their physiques.

But this is a very serious matter. We want to think that when we call upon artists to deliver music that is substantial and moving, we would give it a chance based on its own merits. This is the heart and soul of the article. Of course we hold our artists to a certain standard (we should), but standards and expectations are two entirely different things and all expectations do are pave the way for disappointment and self-loathing. ?uestlove will thrill you with some of his insights into how the expectations and conditioning of the audience play a hand in why artists like D'Angelo and Lauryn are so tortured; and how Hip Hop is a minstrel show right now! Also, how the Black community, specifically, has validated certain artists on everything but their art. Amen, and thank you, SoulBounce, for performing the Lord's work everyday!

Supposedly, D'Angelo is back in shape, perhaps not like in "Untitled" shape, but certainly less fat and less mangy than in the mugshot. And, he's worked on some songs! So that's progress. But I won't be holding my breath for his record anytime soon. He and Maxwell are like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster these days. (I suspect they revel in that.) Provided some new material does drop and it's label-sanctioned, I want D to keep his clothes on, because some of you need to listen before you look. The only way he can save himself is if he saves us in the process.

Body & Soul [SPIN]


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8 Responses

  1. Good article. I remember reading Q-love's take on D'angelo specific to the Voodoo tour in The Believer http://www.believermag.com/issues/200308/?read=interview_thompson, its a good interview.

  2. I love D'angelo God knows I do but this just sounds like B.S. to me. I think he was obviously on the verge of a mental drug/alcohol induced breakdown anyway. It has been implied he was on crack and the article said he was an alcoholic. Blame his childhood not some fans. Quest love had said he gained weight to shake the sex symbol image. Ok fine but then he disappeared and didn't put out any music. We only know he got puddy because he kept getting arrested. Plus the last time I checked Brown Sugar sold more than Voodoo so he can't really believe that fans only brought his music because of one video.

  3. Interesting. I've been really enjoying my "Voodoo" album again. Pull it out, dusted it off this past weekend. 🙂

  4. good article though it had me feeling kinda sad. although very young @ the time i knew VooDoo was so much art in one album. Africa, send it on, spanish rain, greatloveinthemorning/booty that entire tracklist was fire! I hope he can overcome this and just be himself. he is his worst enemy @ this point. And I never realized he was chunky in brown sugar? hmmm, dang lochness-maxwell and bigfoot-d'angelo!

  5. I'd read something similar, written by Toure who interviewed ?uest. It was very in depth about their process of making VooDoo and how the unwanted sexual admiration affected D'Angelo so negatively that during the tour, there were some nights that had to literally drag him on stag. It really does make alot of sense though...some people are artists and only want attention for their art, voice, music, talent. Unfortunately, art is driven by much more than that nowadays.
    If only we could go back to my grandma's days, when they ONLY had the radio...there are too many people who would go from superstars to walmart cashiers

  6. I totally buy it. Many artists tend to be tourtured souls (I know I have my demons, lol) and I can imagine that the lack of focus on his music and who he was as a man and artist, as opposed to that pelvic cut and those lips could put a further strain on someone already struggling with themself. And plenty of women deal with breakdowns related to the ways in which we are objectified, including those of us who are not in the spotlight. And on the flip, there are men who LOVE to have women scream for them (but these are usually peformers, not ARTISTS).
    I hope he's well and I look forward to his return!

  7. wow, this was a good article and it definitey explains a lot. As I finished this article and the other one mentioned by Bleh below, I had to put my head down, tail between my legs and step away from the computer. Guilty as charged! Although I was young when D came on the scene, I thought his music was beautiful, deep and soulful. I thought Voodoo was amazing, the definition of art... then the video came out.... women who had never heard of him were now fiendin for him, and for them, his body was the art. I''m not gonna lie, I almost broke my TV because I was CONVINCED that the frame around the screen was too big and was affecting my "view" and even when i went to his CD signing at Vigin Megastore in Times Square, I asked him to lick his lips!!! (tsk tsk, I know). His anger and pain made that concert at MSG raw and gritty, and THAT's the D'Angelo I miss. So if he wants to come back like "Brown Sugar" or "You Should Be Here" lookin' D'Angelo, then by all means do SO! And hurry up! His true fans will be there and will love and appreciate his music always. I still listen to Voodoo and gain a deeper appreciation for it every time

  8. I know...I'm a mutant. But as much as I liked looking at D nearly naked in photos from the video (don't have cable, so I didn't really see the video itself until it hit YouTube), I wasn't so overwhelmed by the abs that I couldn't HEAR him. Actually, I wasn't crazy about that song because it was too Prince-ish for my tastes. Spanish Joint was the song I wore out, precisely for its musicality.
    I think artists need to make their stand in the corporate offices, not after they've displayed their nekkid azzes for the whole world to see. No one forced him to make that video, and how could he not anticipate the response? It wasn't even a photo shoot...it was 5 minutes of him screaming and moaning on camera with no clothes on. How did he NOT know what a stir it would cause?
    I feel sorry for him about his personal drama, but I'm not buying the "it was out of my hands" defense. Keep your clothes on and people can focus on your MUSIC!



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