Jazmine Sullivan "Heaux Tales" Album Review

Jazmine Sullivan has been crooning to our hearts since I Need U Bad. Her vocal abilities have been praised since age 11, when she sang Home for her school play. Although people argue over the amount of credit she is given for her vocal ranking in the industry, Jazmine Sullivan has proven with each musical endeavor that her talent is undeniable.

Heaux Tales is a snapshot in the lifestyle of a woman looking for empowerment. We are taken on a journey through the mindset of someone searching for validity through her feminine attributes. Let me premise this review by saying, there is no judgement for the path you take. Everything has its pros and cons. Jazmine Sullivan has used this album to expound on the perspective briefly touched on in Mascara in her prior album “Reality Show”.

When I pressed play, I was greeted by a sultry acappella-styled intro. The somber tone on Bodiesspelled out a story of a woman trying to recollect memories of her drunk night. Unaware of how the events turned, she vowed to act better within those circumstances.Get it together b*tch, is what she repeated to herself to wash away the underline shame. By “Antoinette’s Tale”, she found a way to make peace with the previous night. The interlude speaks on the thought that gender does not dictate the kind of actions or mistakes you make. If you get too drunk, you may have a wild night. Being a woman shouldn’t make that anymore disgraceful.

All of her attitude came back on “Pick Up Your Feelings”. Tired of dealing with a partner who did not showcase the respect she deserves, she kicked him out with no remorse. However, “Ari’s Tale” speaks on a truth that many women faced: putting up with an unhealthy man for sake of good sex. The euphoric feeling that erupts from your body in that sexual encounter can trump any logic you may have. The man who was given an exit has been given another entrance. “Put It Down” speaks on this feeling, detailing all of the man’s downfalls but justifying his presence using his sexual prowess. Completely d*ckmatized, she surrenders her strength to him on “On It” featuring Ari Lennox. The soul songstresses croon to the d*ck like a shrine. We’ve all fell victim to the power an invigorating sex session. Yearning for it to be inside you, missing the taste, feening for the feeling to never leave.

The comedic energy of “Donna’s Tale” speaks to the reason why women have sex. Some use it as an exchange to “get what you want”. Sex is technically a service. Even though every situation varies, some women see it as a way to gain leverage from a man, as spoken on “Pricetags” featuring Anderson Paak. “That money keeps the p*ssy wet.”. A simple truth from a woman who cannot find any other value with men. If the dynamic does not stimulate me mentally, build me emotionally, but has me trapped sexually, I might as well get paid for it. Right? Anderson Paak’s verse speaks on the consenting man’s perspective briefly. The underline damage from these situations rears its ugly head in “Rashida’s Tale”. Hurt people hurt people. Vengeance can be so blind that you don’t realize you are hurting a blessing. “Lost One” was clear. We all made mistakes.

“Precious Tale” was an honest perspective on how women are driven to entertain men with large bank accounts. Every woman finds their independence differently, but the disconnect from men on an emotional level makes it easier to treat them like a job. Everybody wants to be successful. Working towards that goal when you were never encouraged to find that power in yourself creates stories like “Precious Tale”. The spunky story of Heaux Tales took a somber turn here. “The Other Side” depicts the looming cloud of depression, unhappiness, confusion and doubt that women deal with. How can I get out of this situation? Every woman has contemplated being a stripper at least once in our lives. Many of us don’t have the balls to actually go through with it. Some of us are insecure in who we are as individuals, and look to social media to show us what kind of women gets validated. “Amanda’s Tale” is a heartbreaking perspective that drives women to use their bodies for power. “I don’t have all of what they have”. No confidence in her skills, intelligence or beauty, she falls victim to the facade of social media. Why not me? “Girl Like Me” featuring H.E.R ends the story with a painful reality. Why not me? I’m a good person. I’m smart. I’m loyal. Why not me? If I look like her, will I get a husband? If I treat men like an atm, will I get more attention? “You goin make a h*e out of me” is spoken from a place of heartbreak, spite and frustration. It’s almost like this was the first song, and “Bodies” started the cycle.

Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan is an insightful piece on how women look for power in their lives. Sexual empowerment is real. Independent thinking is great. Being emotionally disconnected can be a strength also. The real question is: what is the intent? What is driving you to use this path for power? Did you let go of the hurt before you decided to play this game? Listen, I enjoy a freak-nasty good time and I don’t mind a man throwing money in my direction, but it can’t be used as validation for my womanhood. Your sex is power because you own it. Not because you own him at the moment.

-Cee Flame

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