I love music of all kinds: I love Hip Hop, R&B, Alternative, Rock, and even love to sing in the shower to Country music. I (like many others) use different kinds of music for different things in my life. On the surface, the music is fine; the hottest beats and awesome collaboration between chart topping artists as well as the high production value make it popular. Artists like Future, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, and Drake appear within my playlists on a regular basis. However, on a deeper level, some of the music that I use as the soundtrack to my daily life doesn’t truly reflect who I am. It doesn’t reinforce my talents, abilities, or good qualities. But there are artists that seem to constantly put out music that is positive and popular. I am a long time fan of Raheem Devaughn. He is one of my favorite artists because he has continually made music that inspires me and makes me feel appreciated.
More specifically, Raheem Devaughn’s music has always made me happy to be a woman. Through him I get to embrace my femininity on a entirely different level. The first two songs I ever heard from him were, “Guess Who Loves You More” and “You.” In both songs, Devaughn’s melodies detailed all of the wonderful ways he admired the lady in his life. Now, I am in no way comparing myself to the love interest of one of my favorite DC raised singers, but what I do think is that the lyrics in these songs make me proud to be worthy of the love of a mature, professional man. Like I said before, I love all kinds of music. I am not a stranger to the harsh, heavy beats in hard core rap and the ever popular trap music; I have ‘go-to artists in many genres, but these categories of music don’t always love me. Instead, in rap music women are often called bitches, hoes, sluts, and other derogatory terms. Similarly, there are many unbecoming activities for the ladies that get those unbecoming names. It’s just a fact.
This dialogue comparing and contrasting music that objectifies women with that of artists that appreciate and encourage growth, professionalism, and inner beauty is nothing new. I hear the former out at bars and lounges when I want to dance; I listen to it during a workout, or on my hellacious commute to help me get ready to face a ridiculous day. The strong beats, the tempo, and even the language, all allow me to achieve that purpose. It brings out my more urbanized self and it calls the fighter in me forward. It puts me in the “come hell or high (as hell) water” mindset. I internalize it, the lyrics, the notes, and auto-tune as it ensures that I do whatever I need to do to enjoy myself or to face my challenges head on to come out on top.
However, when I want to hear music that makes me appreciate all of the other things that I am capable of bringing to the world besides what is in between my legs, I turn more to neo-soul music. My recent concert experience with Raheem Devaughn and Leela James (another phenomenal neo-soul artist) had me dancing around and grooving to the beats, feeling uplifted and valued; it is the kind of music that makes me want to be my best self. Devaughn produces the kind of lyrics that tell me that I am a special, beautiful, woman. In his song, Woman, Devaughn croons about his appreciation for body of women, not to please him, but to create life. And, in Devaughn’s more sensual songs, his lyrics revolve around the needs of the lady with whom he is involved rather than being focused his own pleasure.
Women endure many trying situations and are presented with even more challenges; there is little to be done to counteract that. But, we all need a coping mechanism. We all need something to make us feel worthy when our circumstances or those around us are not indicative of the queens that we can be. Though lyrics the lyrics in his song Queen, Raheem builds me up reminding me that “[I am] a nurturer and a superwoman” and my potential are applauded. And when he says that “[I] can be [a] rock to the highest mountain top” Devaughn lets me know that my support to another human being is invaluable. Lastly, he makes it very clear that I am a creature that deserves to be placed on a pedestal singing “from [his] heart to [his] toes, [I am someone that a man should ] cherish, love and hold.’’
Life’s obligations and issues swirl around me constantly. My break, my love, my habit, my escape is taking myself to a different place through the musical gifts of those who seek to help me focus on what is good inside me and in my life. I am in no way saying that I will stop bopping my head to Lil Wayne, Fetty Wap, or Nicki Minaj on a regular basis. It is a given that the next time I work out, my playlist will drift into the direction of Rick Ross, the ‘Teflon Don’. Still, because I have gotten older and matured a bit, I can honestly say that at this stage, while I can appreciate two-stepping to ‘Trap Queen’ when I’m getting ready to go out, I am more likely to actually spend money to go to a live music performance that will leave me feeling more uplifted. I love music. I love being a woman capable of love and respect and Raheem Devaughn constantly allows me to enjoy both.