Thursday, October 9, 2008

:::Jazmine Sullivan::Bust Your Windows (video):::

After about 6 years of false starts and record label limbo, the young illy Philly songstress is finally on parade for the world to see. Jazmine Sullivan's voice is so rich, it's beyond words. She almost reminds me of a young Lalah Hathaway with some Karen Clark-Sheard chops thrown in for effect. Her debut album, in my opinion, doesn't really do her vocal talents much justice. But since record companies are increasingly afraid to take risks, especially with Black artists, their output is resigned to being dictated by trend. But there are some shining moments on Fearless. And while I'm afraid to admit it, this is one of them. "Bust Your Windows" isn't your classic tale of a woman scorned. Sullivan ups the ante, punishing her lover's indiscretions by vandalizing his most prized possession: his whip. Set to a waltz-like production laden with synth strings, the song takes on a mellow dramatic flair.

As effortlessly as Sullivan belts out the lyrics and melody utilizing a raspy contralto that belies her 21 years, there's something slightly disturbing about rocking to a joint that rationalizes destruction of property. But as Jerry Springer celebrates 18 years of circus-like on-air interpersonal dysfunction and the advent of the self-defining victim reaches a zenith, this song doesn't seem so out of place in contemporary society. I wonder how many females will try to use this joint as a defense in court to explain why they stabbed out their boyfriend's tires. Hey, don't laugh, remember the 2Pac-made-me-do-it defense? So with all of the above taken into consideration, I guess I like the song. Even though as a dude, I'm supposed to be at odds with it. I guess that means I'm having a crisis of conscience right now.

My only beef is with the video treatment. They projected her as an archetype "classy chick," gracefully sauntering through a lavish loft space trying her best to wreak havoc on her man's digs. After finding a thong under his bed that obviously didn't belong to her, she does her best to destroy a few of his watches by chucking them in the fish tank, throw some records down the stairs, and spill an entire bottle of wine over the table. But she just seemed too removed from it all to make it believable. I'm sayin'...this is a girl from North Philly. She's supposed to rep this role to the fullest! If you're going to sell it...SELL IT! Not trying to stereotype, but she could have at least put some stank on it like Angela Bassett did in Waiting To Exhale:

So being that the song's main line and name sake was about busting windows out of cars, she didn't even keep her word! But I guess she made her point in a more effective way, being that the Basquiats she spray painted over alone were worth thousands of dollars a piece (assuming they were real).

I'm sure there's something inherently wrong with me wanting to see a Black woman wild out in a stereotypical fashion for the world to see. But I guess that's one of the conundrums you face at the crossroads of art, politics, and commerce. The exploitation factor has so many convoluted layers, it's hard to determine whether you're creating art or making an ass out of yourself and those who look like you. Ask Dave Chappelle.

Damn...I need a drank.

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