Float.

I’m sitting at my desk in my increasingly uncomfortable office chair drinking red wine while listening to Anita Baker. For someone in desperate need of a vacation, but months away (at the very least from taking one), I’ll take whatever temporary moments of escape I can get. For years now, editors and many of my fellow writers have referred to me as a machine due to the way I’ve been able to churn out assignment after assignment. Maybe, but I think it’s about time someone put me in the shop.

Last week, Cord Jefferson wrote yet another very good essay, this time on how tiresome it can be writing about racism over and over again. It’s worth the read, and as someone who, too, writes about race a lot, I can attest to the sentiment. For one of the outlets I regularly write for, I often joke to my friends that they might as well give me a column called “That’s Racist with Michael Arceneaux.” My way of tackling what I often think are worthless targets is to simply make fun of them. Even so, I’d much rather go with the Mariah Carey method of dealing with a complete waste of space: “Ain’t gon’ feed you, I’mma let you starve.”

I wish dealing with racism was the least of my problems, though.

Since graduating from college and actually collecting checks for my writing, I’ve tackled pop culture, politics, music, celebrity gossip, sexuality, race, satire, and social media. I am happy I’ve been allowed to write about so much. Not everyone can be versatile, or at least, be convincing at. That doesn’t negate exhaustion, however. Like, I’m not necessarily over writing, but I am somewhat tired of a few things.

The aforementioned writing about idiotic racists, but also subject matter I can classify as either “dumb shit” or “silly shit” or “patronizing shit.” I came across an article entitled “The Internet has a content diversity problem.” In it, the writer basically takes shots at varying publications for following into the listicle vortext in response to the chase for clicks. I’m somewhat conflicted on that. Do I think “sharebait” has further contributed to the decline of people’s attention spans and their desire to read anything more than 500 words that might require them to think? Yes. Nevertheless, for a bunch of people stuck in cubicles and offices at least three hours too long, I can understand the desire to read something easy breezy.

Plus, I’ve contributed to the problem ’cause those pay the checks. And honestly, writing a “dumb list” is a lot harder than people realize. It can be a challenge to make any piece look like easy reading.

I’m less annoyed by the list than I am this growing subgenre of online journalism that’s basically “Tell ‘Em Why You Mad, Son.” It’s like watching people race to out politically correct the other in an effort to sound more evolved than the next. There are plenty of things to get mad about, but so many seem insincere because it pays to rage. A lot of it comes across a lot like masturbation. As in, let me patronize you, oooh, baby, baby, they’re so bad, but your point of view, so-so-so good.

I don’t wake up everyday wanting to be “mad.” I want to make people laugh and make people think. If some people deserve a roasting, so be it — just don’t position it as “moving the debate” forward. That would require a level of respect, and gasp, nuance, which so many writers seem to lack.

Then there are the “LET ME ENRAGE YOU ON PURPOSE AND THEN PRETEND I ACTUALLY HAD SOMETHING MEANINGFUL TO SAY BECAUSE MY ATTENTION WHORING ASS GOT THE ATTENTION I SO DESPERATELY WANTED.” Fuck off twice, please.

In any event, I found it more interesting that a writer is complaining about diversity in content but only cited works from mainstream publications. That’s not surprising, but no less dually ironic and irritating.

What I’m personally sick of is having to chase for a check. I’m even more sick of having to churn out more than ever because though there may be an across the board wage depreciation, the publishing industry has really made an effort to take advantage of it. Even when I am offered the chance to write something that actually excites me, I have to contend with the reality that I have to be careful where I pitch it ’cause motherfuckers ain’t trying to pay the way they did even six months ago much less two years.

And yes, sometimes I do feel like Beyoncé being forced to cover Keri Hilson’s catalog due to increasingly stupid and/or lazy readers. 

You know, a lot of the time I get told, “I’m so proud of you for living your dream.” I know the intent is complimentary, but I sometimes wince anyway. Yes, I’ve written a lot of things I’m particularly proud of – this year included – but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m living my dream. I’ve accomplished select goals, but my dreams are too big to truly embrace a statement I find hyperbolic.

I could go on, but I’m about to switch to Anthony Hamilton and perform “Float” in my apartment.

A few weeks ago, while watching Oprah’s Master Class with Whoopi Goldberg, she said something to the effect of, “Do what you have to do until you no longer have to.” That’s something I continue to tell myself, though I do know I have to push (and get it right) to do more things worthy of my talent (that pay better). Even if I feel tired. Even if I increasingly get upset by the state of the biz. Thankfully, there are people every now and then who remind me that in the midst of the noise, my voice still stands out. I appreciate that. More than most will ever understand.

On and On

When my friend emailed me the video for Tinashe’s “2 On,” I immediately got nostalgic. “Oh, this is like a Mýa video” was the response I shot back. He agreed and we proceeded to share our eagerness over dancing making a slow but steady comeback. Months would go by before I really got into this song, and now that I have, all I can think after watching this performance is damn, Ciara should’ve hooked up with DJ Mustard before he blew up.

Congratulations on the baby and all of that, CiCi, but while I bought your album, not many other people did. As I’ve mentioned a couple hundred times, Ciara’s problems with trying to reclaim past relevance are multiple, but at the core the girl simply has not only hookless music – a sin for any artist, much less an R&B/pop girl – but it lacks distinction. If Ciara’s content with allowing Jazze Pha to waste his time meeting with LaTavia over music that’ll likely never been penned, sang, recorded, or performed, the least she could’ve done is hooked up with a rising producer who could help her revisit a winning template. No, Mike Will Made It doesn’t count, mostly because a), he didn’t do the whole album, and b), he doesn’t really do uptempos much or that well and Lord knows a Ciara project full of vocals ain’t her Mega Millions Ticket to the top of Billboard.

I bring up Ciara because I think much of why I still held on to her despite obvious signs to “RUN, BITCH, RUN!” stemmed from me wanting another girl besides Beyoncé to keep dance alive. And before you dare even question it, yes, Beyoncé is very much the only girl out here keeping dance alive. You could argue that about Lady Gaga and her crypt keeper and rhythm style of dance, too, but I bought ARTPOP and y’all didn’t so no one is paying her much mind right now.

That said, as a child who grew up on Janet, Madonna, Paula Abdul, TLC, Aaliyah, Rosie Perez, and basically umm, everyone besides Brandy and Monica and their four left feet (at the time anyway), I like my 8 counts, extensive choreography, p-pops and twerks. 

Ciara can still dance down, but it’s not happening again so I’m sending a special hey, girl, hey to Tinashe.

She sort of looks like Tiny with a fantastic nose job. More importantly, this girl is getting it in this performance and can even sing a lil’ bit while doing so. I don’t particularly care about the latter part, but I admire the fact that she doesn’t sound like a dog with throat cancer when singing after all that dancing. Someone tell this woman to master the art of the Janet Jackson pre-recorded live vocal and I’m sold.

As for her actual voice goes, I imagine that somewhere Cassie is looking at her and Jhené Aiko and thinking, “What the fuck, universe?” Oh well to that, too. Bottom line: I need some dancing girls with catchy music and now I can add Tinashe to the list of maybes. 

Free idea: Some major label needs to stop playing and scoop up Danity Kane. Then some network ought to give them a new reality show. After that, drop a successful album (or successful enough by today’s standards) and throw them on a theater/small arena tour with Tinashe as an opening act. Or if Jennifer Lopez decides to tour again, maybe those two acts can join the bill. Lord knows Jennifer is another keeping dance alive.

 

Her. She Is LaTavia. The Elusive Chanteuse.

I haven’t written much about R&B Divas: Atlanta (as opposed to R&B Divas: LA last summer) because I’m not being paid to. That aside, I’ve been meaning to tackle LaTavia Roberson’s storyline on the show. Bless this woman’s heart as I know she’s been through it since the day she turned on MTV and saw that she got fired on her day off. Still, for the life of me, I do not understand how a person so hell bent on not singing is on a show all about singers who sing all the damn time.

Watching her these past few weeks have been so draining. Thus far, LaTavia has been giving me Claudette Ortiz sadness, only LaTavia made sure to do her hair and dress for the cameras rolling in front of her face. But hell, at least Claudette wanted to sing. Her issue was that she couldn’t afford a babysitter or something. You wanted to root for her, and while I felt the same with LaTavia at the beginning, lately I’ve just been like, “Girl, why are you even still here? Did Mona Scott-Young tell you ‘No thank you, but God bless!’ or something?

I’m glad I procrastinated/got distracted/took damn long/waited to take on this subject, though. This post is coming later than I intended for it to, but I’ve come to realize when writing about certain topics, or in some cases, making certain life choices, things happen when they are supposed to as opposed to when you think they ought to. Had I published this even a week ago, I would’ve missed this footage of LaTavia actually opening her mouth to sing surfacing online.

Now, some of your mean ass cousins have wasted no time in being assholes for the amusement of other lifeless strangers who get wet by wrecking havoc on the comments section/mentions of a celebrity’s social media account. Y’all. Did y’all even wait three minutes before deciding to say to LaTavia, “Why do you sound like Patsey during the whipping scene of 12 Years A Slave?”

I don’t think LaTavia sounds bad here. I will acknowledge that she indeed let a big ass yell at the very end of this extremely short clip, but she could easily be doing a vocal exercise. I mean, if you let your vocal chords sit in the kind of decade-long coma the way LaTavia did, you need to stretch those muscles out. They’re ashy and rusty, remember.

LeToya Luckett has improved as a vocalist. As has Kelly Rowland. Okay, some of the time. LeToya Luckett has definitely maintained a consistency of improvement in the studio and live. Kelly is back-back, forth and forth with hers. God bless. Even Beyoncé has had to grow as a singer. That’s just how it works. 

LaTavia wasn’t the strongest vocalist in the group, but she wasn’t the weakest singer in life either. She has a heavier tone to her voice — something I wish she embraced sooner than she seemingly has. Like, have you fools never heard of “Practice What You Preach?” LaTavia should continue to work on her voice and realize her destiny as the melodic Tone Loc with Barry White sprinkles.

LaTavia can get better so long as she continues to open her mouth and try to sing.

For her, such a thought put fear in her heart. From the looks of it, she’s managed to get over it. Good for her. We all get in our own way at times. Some are worse than others, but not many know when to step out of the way.

Scared Old Men, Modern Style, and the Perceived Feminization of Black Men in Hip-Hop Via Fashion

Whenever you pick the brain of someone like Lord Jamar about hip-hop’s ills, he’ll give you minutes-long rants about how the “feminization” of hip-hop is destroying both the culture and the Black men who contribute to it. His most recent display of this sad lil’ shtick was an interview he gave to Vlad TV earlier in the month about rapper Young Thug daring to wear something that looks an awful lot like a dress. When asked about it, the former Brand Nubian emcee flatly said, “I’m not feelin’ him. The more feminine shit that you do, the more you’re going to have to do other shit to try to prove your manhood.”

I’ve always found homophobia (which is in a deeply committed relationship with misogyny) within the hip-hop community to be especially laughable. As Aaron McGruder used to routinely point out in the pre-TV days of The Boondocks, this is a genre of music in which its biggest stars are greased muscle men instructing other men to suck their dicks. On top of that, many of these guys are adorned in so much jewelry you’d think Liberace had a bunch of unidentified bastard seeds. Meanwhile, a common narrative of rap is, was, and perhaps may always will be to drive home the point that women—excuse me, bitches—ain’t shit.

We are collectively a very He-Man woman hating society, though, so I can’t dismiss Lord Jamar as some sort of outlier like a Five Percenter or one of those Black Israelites who every Sunday on 125th and Lenox disparage Islamic men for wearing “dresses” and, like Lord Jamar, act as if femininity is some terrorist organization hell bent on the annihilation of Black men.

Yes, Lord Jamar may be one of the harsher and outspoken critics of the “feminization” of Black men, but he’s no less guilty than many of the other people who griped over Kid Cudi wearing a crop top at Coachella. The same goes for those who roasted Kanye West for wearing a kilt. Sure, you could sweep some of the critics aside as “jokes,” but it all ultimately plays into the sentiment that when you are a man—particularly a Black one—you are limited in your personal expression for the sake of preserving your manhood.

To Lord Jamar and others, manhood is a performance. One’s personal style is a part of that act and the minute you deviate from the collective acceptance of masculine ideals, you are worthy of ridicule, condemnation, or the very least, be questioned about your manhood, an all-too common occurrence that deserves re-examination.

In a piece entitled “metrosexuality is dead, thank god for that,” Anders Christian Madsen celebrates the end of the early 2000s trend and credits the likes of David Beckham, Jared Leto, and Zac Efron for showing (white) men that it’s okay to break from the mold. Similar pieces have been written in celebration of Kanye West, and perhaps over time, Kid Cudi, Young Thug, and others may receive similar accolades for doing the same for Black dudes.

This undoubtedly spooks the hell out of the Lord Jamars of the world, but what frightens me mostly is that ultimately, we’ve still yet to challenge how exactly we should judge one’s manhood.

If you are gay, you are used to the idea that some men may view you as less of a man for your attractions; however, we’ve reached the point where a straight guy could literally be swimming in a pool of vagina and he’d still be considered less of a man and boxed in because of a crop top or a kilt.

Read the rest at Complex.

Quench Your Thirst…Without A Quote

Folks, if you’re going to release your inner thot via social media, do so without pretense. In the latest installment of “Gon’ Somewhere With This Bullshit,” (more: hereherehere, and here) I’ll discuss thirst traps—specifically some people’s inclination to not let a thing be exactly what it is. Fret not, I’m not going to act as if I’m sitting on cloud nine with Jesus, Pimp C, and Clair Huxtable and feign being above posting a thirst trap.

I most certainly have taken a picture of my perky tits fresh after bench-pressing like a mad man in the midst of an intense caffeine high. And as soon as my trainer gets me together and I break it off completely with Hennessy and catfish, I may post even more. Who knows?

If you’re going to do it, do it. Don’t get confused about what you’re doing by flaunting that image with a quote from Gandhi or that Chinese carry-out that also sells pizza, BBQ, and oxtails. I really want to understand why some of you do that shit. Like, what about your exposed breasts, ass cheeks, and until they’re reported, labias and penises, scream “Let me attach a motivational quote to this”? Isn’t your suggestive pose and nakedness motivation enough?

I’d get it if you were doing a play on phrases. Something like, “Dare to dream.” But, no, you folks out here are straight up holding yourselves while quoting JFK. The fuck wrong with y’all?

Let me make a suggestion: Own your hoedom. And shut up, I’m not saying that in a negative way. I grew up on Adina Howard, Janet Jackson, and Jodeci. I would never judge anyone for tapping into his or her inner BEYONCÉ.

What I will say, though, is that it’s time to cut the crap and stop pretending that you’re really trying to share your spiritual manifesto with a back shot. The same goes for pretending you care about the state of the European economy when you’re shirtless in bed and poking your chest out like your nipples are dying of a stroke and only a wet tongue can save them. Ditto for you ladies doing the Lil’ Kim Hardcore pose while waxing poetic.

Read the rest at Complex.

[Complex] Dear Potential Bae: Don’t Follow Me on Social Media Unless We’re Seriously Dating

“What’s your Twitter?”

It’s three of the scariest words I could ever hear from someone I could possibly, maybe, sort of, kind of, potentially be interested in on a Beyoncé and Jay Z level, or at the very least, a Mimi Faust and Nikko situation. The equivalents — “Are you on Facebook?” and “What’s your Instagram?” — are no less frightening. I get it, but slow down, son, you’re killing ‘em.

I’m not naïve. Our lives are an open book thanks to Google. And as a person who makes a living (or close enough, anyway) by sharing his musings about multiple subjects on the Internet, I’m especially easy to find. Then you have to take into account that Facebook makes it damn near effortless to stalk the hell out of someone. I’m also just learning, from an admitted stalker, that Instagram has a hack where you can find a person’s IG profile based on their phone number.

Honestly, none of that bothers me. I’d be a hypocrite in the key of Kanye West if I pretended that I never, uh, “investigated a date.” Even so, I have the decency to not immediately follow anyone I’m interested in mere minutes after the initial, “What yo name iz? Tell me what yo name iz?”

Though there are other people who have this problem, my online persona is not different than what greets you in person. Still, as hard as it is to get to know someone on an intimate level, it’s even harder to do so if they develop a preconceived notion about you based on tweets and Instagram comments. Not to mention, call me old fashioned, but I’d like for a person to reveal how crazy they are through interpersonal channels.

I could go on.

Like, let me talk about you online through nondescript terms in peace. Hell, let me talk about other people I may be interested in without the fear that I’m potentially ruining a good thing by simply keeping my options open — which is totally okay according to those fake relationship experts y’all foolishly give your money to (insert Tyrese’s and/or any fake celebrity’s name here). Before you even think to say, “Well, maybe you should keep some things to yourself. That’s what your friends are for.” Bitch, shut up.

Read the rest at Complex.

There You Go, Jennifer Hudson

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Jennifer Hudson’s finally found a musical style that will work for her. “Walk It Out” is super cute. It’s kind of like, “Yeah, I’m grown-grown, but I can still give you a stripper kick and turn that cherry out.” As someone who just turned 30, I appreciate such a sentiment. Or better yet, the song is like the musical equivalent of getting your stuffy homegirl loose at the club after a few drinks.

And I really, really like that this is the second song in a row that I’ve heard from J. Hud that didn’t make me want to shout, “This is why Deena Jones got all of the leads!”

All praises to Pharrell and Evelyn Champagne King for “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel).” And now, applause-applause for  Timbaland, who has upped the ante. By the way, I hear you in the background, Justin Timberlake. You sound good, sir. How about you sing background on a Janet Jackson comeback single? Nah, I ain’t forgot.

Anyway, I love this Jennifer Hudson single and that is not something my fingers are not used to typing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think Jennifer Hudson can sing and she hasn’t had her moments before. See, “No One Gonna Love You.” However, mama can be so loud. Like, I’m so glad J. Hud’s producers have got her to stop screaming as if she was Jesus’ alarm clock.

Not to mention, a lot of her music sounded unnecessarily old. I know she was being positioned as a Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin like vocalist. Okay, but even Whitney Houston’s earlier work included some fun, youthful uptempos. Hell, so did the stuff towards the end. I know y’all remember the hood auntie classic (this is a compliment),  “Whatchulookinat.” Also, even Mean Re-Re had “Rock Steady,” baby, plus “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

It’s about time Jennifer Hudson stepped out of the Dionne Warwick’s Bid Whist party long enough to shimmy with folks who still have their original teeth. I mean,  this was the then-20 something woman who had a song about smacking someone with their pocketbook. Sure, she tried before, but that song she had with Rick Ross was some Banshee ‘n B shit. Nope.

Now, I did notice a hint of Beyoncé in the vocal arrangement and delivery of “Walk It Out.” The inflections seem very KING BEY and I get the feeling this song might’ve been presented to her during recording sessions. This is not a jab to J.Hud. Singing tracks intended for Beyoncé is probably the best creative decision she’s made in a long time. A few other women should probably consider doing the same thing.

My favorite lines (clearly) are:

“I be on, I be on, I be-I be on that good shit. I be on, I be on – yup! – on that hood shit. You gotta take me out. Let me show how to approach me now. If we do it right, you can turn me out.”

Yes, Jennifer. Sing my life story. This song is so fun and playful. Glad you loosened up. It wasn’t but a month or so ago that Jennifer was talking about how singing about sex is “overrated.” That was some bullshit then and it was bullshit now.

There may be an imbalance in music with respect to subject matter, and yes, some people sing about sex in the corniest of ways (Pharrell’s new album is a nice example. Dude still sings about sex like a desperate virgin in the band.) However, sex is fantastic and sex songs are good. Ain’t nothing wrong with crooning about getting some.

Happy you could join the celebrating, Ms. Hudson. Keep it up.

BURRRRR!

I’ve long told my friends that I dance like a girl with a burgundy weave; thanks to SGT, I now have proof. Not that any of them needed it, but it’s always nice to have, you know? You can’t see me, but I am listening to the song as I write this post. In fact, I’m about to get up and get back to bopping. It’s very hard to be still to this.

Hold please.

B-B-B-B-BADDD GIRLS!

 SHE SO MOTHERFUCKING BURRRRRR! BURR STREET!

Like, do these girls need a Kickstarter for more studio time? I will happily donate. I’m all about supporting the arts.

This fantastic gem entered my life a few weeks ago and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. I made the mistake of reading the YouTube comments and I noticed lots of people were hating. Some people just cannot help waking up and being a useless hater bitch. It’s so sad.

I hope these musically gifted young ladies are letting their haters be their motivators. They are not thots, they are twerk ambassadors. Respect them, you bitches.

I’m so mad I wasn’t on the street set when they were filming. I would’ve gladly joined the big girl in the yellow and home girl in those spandex shorts and dropped it on the ground.

And before you respectable Negroes ask, yes, I wondered if they could all read. I said a little prayer to Jesus that they all graduated from high school and at least considered cosmetology school or becoming an astronaut just in case slaying these hoes on the rap scene doesn’t work out for them.

With that bullshit out of the way, let me go back to how great this song. These girls can actually rap. I love the choreography. It’s like the organic chicken wing of dancing, which is how I’ll now be describing my dance style to people for the remainder of 2014.

Ugh, I hope y’all know I’m not being sarcastic. I legitimately love this song. It is everything. So mad it’s not on iTunes. Ladies, please never stop rapping. I am flipping my air Chinese bang to the beat in your honor. Stay Black and blessed!

Back to bopping I go. #birdgang

Spit Your Game vs. Talking Your Shit

As far as Iggy Azalea is concerned, the empress still has no original flow, but I will say that if nothing else, I respect this woman’s dedication to lying. That may sound shady as hell – ’cause it is – but I do actually mean that as somewhat of a compliment. I’m not a particular fan of the “fake it ’til you make it” model, but I do admire those who are adamant about getting the success they think they deserve and doing what it takes it to obtain it.

I read her profile in the New York Times’ Style section a week ago, and as soon as I read the following graf, I stopped what I was doing to send the link to my friend with the subject, “This girl gets it.”:

And her ambition is palpable. “I know how to play the game and get what I want,” she said “Do you think what I wore to the Chloé show would really be something that I would wear? No. I picked the outfit out myself, because I know it’s appropriate and I know how to pander. I know what Chloé looks like, and being that I want to appease Chloé, because I would like some Chloé, I’m going to do my best job to be Chloé.”

Ms. Azalea wants designer clothes for her music videos, to “do wacky things to them,” she said. “But I know that if the designers can’t see me in a certain light, that fashion light, I will never get those clothes.”

A lot of people have counted Iggy out — for sensible reasons at the time. But, her debut album will be released this month, and though she’s not exactly a huge rap star here, she has achieved respectable success abroad. Part of that could be attributed to Europeans not realizing who Charli Baltimore is and the fact that Iggy stole her entire throat, but the larger attribution goes to Iggy figuring out exactly how to carve a lane for herself.

I’ll admit that her song “Fancy” is cool. She’s improved as a rapper. Do I take her seriously? Hardy har, bitch, but she has managed to take the Fergie model and create the kind of rap music people who don’t like a lot of rap (or even Black people) can enjoy. If 2013 prove nothing else, it’s that there is a bigger market than ever for Black music as performed by the palest of personas. I’ll take “Fancy” over Iggy pretending to be Diamond from Crime Mob. She can offer more “Murda Bizness” and those other hoe shit songs like “Pu$$y” if she so desires, though.

In any event, all of this is a testament to Iggy’s shrewdness. Iggy, who seems genuinely nice (which matters to me), is winning whereas Azealia Banks is on Twitter talking about leaking her debut album. The debut album she’s been recording forever. The debut album that’s offered about three singles since God knows how long at this point. The debut album that’s starting to give teases of Ill Na Na 2: The Fever and That Album Charli Baltimore Tried To Release On Murder Inc., Poor Girl.

Azealia is the much more talented rapper, but she is “getting in your own way” personified. Iggy obviously benefits from being a white girl, but she gets an even bigger boost for knowing exactly when to shut the fuck up. I can’t believe Iggy beat Azealia to releasing an album. It’s like Marion Jones on a quadruple steroid high losing a race to Patti LaBelle right after defeating Aretha Franklin in a five hour long food fight.

I really wish the ghost of Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, and Da Brat’s rap careers had visited Azealia Banks on one cold night in December in order to warn her about what happens when a rap girl makes one too many bad choices. Oh well. I’ll keep hope alive, girl. Wait, I’m not. WE WERE ROOTING FOR YOU, AZEALIA. WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.

I’ll always have the 1991 EP and Fantasea mixtape.

Her Vanity 6 On

I don’t know what has come over Jazmine Sullivan, but if I would like to personally hug all parties involved. I’ll even cop a feel if they’re into sort of thing. As much as I love this woman’s voice and music, Lord knows she wasn’t always the best performer. Jazmine would often seem timid, distant, and in some cases, sad. Sort of like Snuffleupagus before Big Bird introduced him to uppers during a night a passion.

Now look at her. She’s present. She looks confident. She’s engaging.

And wait, is that thigh I see?

With a shimmy to boot!

I am so pleased. I don’t know what has gotten into her, but it makes me smile. Jazmine Sullivan is one of the better R&B singers of her generation, only she’s not really a part of the conversation. Much of that has to do with her being wrongly snubbed at the Grammys for her first album and her sophomore effort, which was a much more cohesive project, not getting any real push from her label.

I didn’t know what to make of her announcement of semi-retirement a couple of years back. I was hoping she was just lying like hell ala most rappers. She seemed overwhelmed, though, which is why I’m glad that she allowed herself the time to take a step back.

She apparently announced that she will release a third album in 2014. I am elated. Again, I love this woman’s voice. I adore any singer with the kind of soulful voice that can either make me break down (like a Mary happy one vs. a K-Ci, you broke my heart and took my Crown) over the love of some man (real or imaginary, whatever) or want to throw a brick through his fucking car (real or imaginary, mind your business). And since people are letting R&B singers record songs that don’t sound like they were designed for the EDM crowd in the image of cocaine, Jazmine has picked the perfect time to return.

Combined with an improved stage act, this girl better be given the chance to completely deliver on the promise of her talent. Don’t put her in that “boring” box y’all stuck Melanie Fiona in. Speaking of, where did she go? To Deborah Cox’s house of lost R&B singers? Aww, Deborah Cow. Bow your heads and hum a little bit of “Sentimental” in memoriam.

Okay, moment over.

For real, folks. Be good to Jazmine Sullivan. If y’all can let Adele cook, you better toss whatever Jazmine tosses in the Crockpot, let it cook nice and slow and then fest on that shit. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean exactly, but just know that Jazmine Sullivan seems to be finally seeing how awesome a talent she is and I’m thrilled about it.

Let that be a lesson to each of yes. Oh, yes, I took it there. After school special realness. Whatever, I’m all about people – self-included – tapping into their Beyoncé. That said, come on with it, Jazmine. My body and my iTunes purchase clicking finger are both ready.