In Search of Babyface...

I don't wanna be loved

I just wanna quickie

No bite marks, no scratches, and no hickeys

If you can get with that, mami come get with me

Miguel – “Quickie”

I often tease my wife that the keyless car entry killed chivalry; removing the need for a man to open the car door for a woman led to chairs not being pulled out for dinner, doors not being held entering buildings, seats not being given up on crowded subways and she is now responsible for paying for dinner on every third date. There was always one place where women were treated like women, like royalty, R&B music. However, chivalry has seemingly died out in song too, with the fellas not trying to woo women as much as they are directing them in adult movies.

The saying goes that art imitates life and that’s never been more apparent than in commercial-free music sweeps on urban radio stations across the country as what we’re hearing is an extension of society’s general disregard towards women. For years, Hip-Hop seemed to treat women as the requisite spoils of success, alongside expensive cars, jewelry and champagne, women became a status symbol. However, on the R&B side of the game, women were still treated as royalty, the object of a man’s affection, not simply as an object. We’re a long way from Babyface giving good love and cooking dinner as soon as he got home from work.

I wanna do the freaky things you never do

What if we did it while your friends was in the room, is that too much for you

Don’t you feel bad, let them see your sexy ass

Trey Songz – “The Usual”

Uhh yeah, that’s too much for me and the millions of children that hear this song at 3pm when they should be trying to do their homework. The private lives of the sexually adventurous have gone public, for the world to see and hear, but completely ignorant of the impressionable that believes this to be the way of life. We’ve reached a place where we’ve discounted how the lifestyles we portray are embedded in the minds of young women who believe it’s okay to sexually subject themselves to men because Trey Songz makes it sound so cool in his songs or young guys who think it’s cool to belittle and berate women because The Dream’s latest mixtape is so hot.

Romance in popular music is dead and on life support in our community; men aren’t being taught to woo women anymore and women aren’t being taught to hold on to what’s most sacred to them even after the Moscato is gone anymore either. A lowered set of standards across the board and our incessant microwave sensibilities have put me in a position to hear someone singing, “You can bring your girlfriend, if she’s a little bi-curious” twenty times a day and leave me scrambling up and down the dial for something that sounds like…

Pour the wine, light the fire, girl your wish is my command

I submit to your demands

I'll do anything, girl you need only ask

Boyz II Men – “I’ll Make Love to You”

I suppose this approach is boring these days, too soft in a world when men have to prove their manhood by the number of women they sleep with and how far they can convince those women to go, while women convince themselves that owning their sexuality is defined by experimentation and promiscuity. Of course, I could be overreaching, reading too much into the music, but I could also be ignoring the disturbing behavior of our younger brothers and sisters, living out the lyrics to the “106th and Park” countdown and I could just be interested in raising the status quo and tired of the usual.

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