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  • Cy White

Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales

I did want to give a more technical review of Jazmine's Sullivan's Heaux Tales. The truth is, so much of this album is misunderstood simply because of its raw truth that picking it apart seems like it would do it a disservice. Sullivan's voice is a unsurprising revelation. Her skill as a vocal technician cannot be understated. But it also isn't the focal of this album insomuch as the piece itself must be absorbed as a complete picture.

There's a deep pain here. A penetrating hurt that elevates the ache in her voice to something almost unsettling. Many don't understand why "women nowadays" feel the need to use sex or "hoein'" to express need or yearning or self-doubt. It's laughable to me that using sex as a healing mechanism is such a nuanced and subversive idea. It's certainly not a new phenomenon. However, women are less prone to want to keep that kind of heartache inside.

It does no good to pretend the hurt isn't there. It also does nothing if you can't admit that you use destructive means to try to self-heal. To brush it off as just this generation being all about sex (something every older "generation" has been saying since the mid-1960s) means not only do you refuse to acknowledge that pain exists in women, but that their attempts to reclaim their own bodies to try to heal their own bodies makes them less woman than the decades before them. Because, of course, as every older woman who's disgusted that they didn't have the ovaries to leave an abusive situation, the easiest way to erase their shame is to diminish those who embrace theirs and are at least attempting to find ways to burn them away.

Sullivan's Heaux Tales is a somber, yearning, begging siren song. It calls to men who prey on the vulnerable (not innocent, I want to be clear, and these women would never bow to that modifier anyway) and destroys everything in its wake to find some justification for its heartache. Those who refuse to acknowledge it because for some reason they still believe sex is something either so sacred or so scandalous that it should be kept to one's self, something to be embarrassed about are too afraid to actually confront the bitter, primal, ugly, ravenous sides of themselves.

Spoiler Alert: The deity you pray to already knows your sins. You pretending they don exist by chastising those who embrace and heal from theirs isn't going to get you into Paradise any quicker.

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