I like many things on a black man -- a sharp suit, a nice smile, tattoos -- but nothing, and I mean nada, beats a black man with a beard. It's just so...manly. It lets me know that he can chop down trees and choke out a bear with his bare hands; it's nature's outward sign that a man can handle business. And who doesn't love a man who handles his business?
So it's a given, then, that I would like musicians who have beards as well. And surprisingly enough, there
aren't many soul singers (or rappers for that matter) that carry on in the tradition of their forefathers
in beardedness. This is probably the reason Rick Ross gets so much oversized loving from his lady fans; they see that beautifully sculpted bush on the lower part of his face and know that he is a G. Even if
he wasn't, he still gives that illusion, and, as we all know, in the music industry perception is reality.
Something about that beard gives the music an authentic, marinated, baked in feeling; you really believe
the dream the artist is trying to sell you. Besides Questlove, Common, and Cody ChestnuTT, who is
representing for the brothas with the beards?
Black artists used to get jiggy with beards like it was nothing back in the day. Barry White welcomed us into his lush secret garden by reflecting the sheen of his well-oiled chin strap. Marvin Gaye's ability to convince us of his "Sexual Healing" is directly related to the thickness of his facial follicles. George Clinton's lush and colorful man-mane represented the funk that he was reaching for in his music. And Teddy Pendergrass? Do you even need to ask? Besides being healthier for their skin, beards on black male musicians remind us of their virility, and I can sho nuff dig it.
Call me judgmental, but those who try to hide or alter their facial hair low-key creep me out. This doesn't include guys who are genetically baby faced (i.e., my husband-in-my-head Lloyd), but rather those who could get a nice crop of taco meat cultivated, but instead opt to mimic the character Peebles from Shaft with a razor-thin beard line. Or worse yet, those crooners who eschew growing out the hair on their upper lip but let the goatee hangout on the bottom (hey, R. Kelly). Musicians with mini mustaches are always the freaky ones (Bootsy Collins, Ginuwine, Prince, Rick James). And I don't mind a freak, but grow that beard so I know that it's real.