By Veronica Wells
Earlier this week, Michelle Williams had to let y’all know that even though she’s found a good man who is worthy of love and special attention and privileges, she has no intention of doing all the things outlined in Destiny Child’s hit song, “Cater 2 U.” I was with her. Even during my childhood, I could recognize that the song was a little too extreme. I mean in one of the lines Beyoncé literally says, “My life would be purposeless without you.” C’mon sis. It’s too much. I like to think of myself as a romantic and as a child, with no real world experience in love, music and particularly love songs were my peek, my gateway, my initial exposure to what love could and would be like. And to be honest, more than a few of them sold us some pipe dreams or toxic ideology about love, relationships, sex and dating. Check out just a few offenders below.
Nasty put some clothes on, I told ya
Don’t walk out your house without your clothes on, I told ya
Girl what ya thinkin’ ’bout lookin’ that to’ down, I told ya
These men don’t want no hot female
That’s been around the block female, you nasty girl
Reading these lyrics in 2018, you would think a Hotep wrote them. Women can wear whatever they want. It shouldn’t absolve them from being treated with respect. Furthermore, the notion that men don’t want no “hot female” is one that has been proven false time and time again. Given the imagery associated with Beyoncé’s career these days, I’m sure she wouldn’t stand by these lyrics anymore.
2. Breathe Again – Toni Braxton
If I never feel you in my arms again
If I never feel your tender kiss again
If I never hear “I love you” now and then
Will I never make love to you once again?
Please understand, if love ends
Then I promise you, I promise you that
That I shall never breathe again (breathe again, breathe again)
That I shall never breathe again (breathe again)
I get it. Breakups are hard. But this is not the approach you want to take in a.) trying to convince a man to take you back or b.) healing once the relationship is officially over. It’s incredibly desperate—which has never been attractive. And if the relationship is really over, it would be a good idea to keep breathing.
3. You’re The One – SWV
So what’s my chance
(I’m willing to do anything to get)
In your pants
(You don’t have to worry, I won’t)
Say a thing
(And if she finds out, I don’t)
Know nothing, oh no
In this year of our lord, there are still scads of women who believe that they are entitled or have the right to someone else’s man. Womp. This song certainly didn’t help matters. Ladies, this is not the move.
4. Knockin’ da Boots- H Town
Good lovin’, body rockin’, knockin’ boots all night long, yeah
Makin’ love until we tire to the break of dawn
But oh, come on, come on and turn the lights down, and let me get on it, yeah
‘Cause when I do, just me and you, it’ll be so right
A-give me some good love
(Somebody rockin’ knockin’ da boots)
Imagine my shock and surprise when my high school psychology teacher bursted my bubble by informing the class that sex didn’t generally last all night long, till the break of dawn. Mind blown. All the songs about sex had lied to me…in very egregious ways.
5. Your Body’s Callin’- R. Kelly
You see you don’t have to say nothing
Knowing your body wants something
And it’s easy for me to see
That your body’s callin’ for me
Honestly, we could do a whole list of rapey R. Kelly lyrics. And knowing what we know now, it’s clear that he meant every word. This is not a consent song. Men, who are terrible at reading non-verbal cues are quick to believe they know what a woman wants when it comes to sex…without her opening her mouth. Lies and deceit. You need to hear it from her to know you should proceed.
6. Piece of My Love – Guy
Baby, you can’t have all of me
‘Cause I’m not totally free
I can’t tell you everything that’s goin’ on
There’s a few things in my past
That should not be explained
I’m askin’ you, baby
Be with me for a lil’ while (You can have a)
No questions asked
Lay back and relax, girl
(I do love you, girl, it’s true)
Now, kick off your shoes
Lift your pretty head, darling (it’s waiting for you)
Since we’re here now, baby
I’m givin’ you a piece of me you can have
My best friend and I were teenagers, folding laundry at my house when we realized this 90’s groove was about a no count man. Not only was he unavailable, he didn’t want her to ask any questions about it as he gave her the piece of him she could have. Naturally, there was something in it for him.
7. Woman to Woman- Shirley Brown
The clothes on his back
Ha ha, I buy them
The car he drives, I pay the note every month
So I’m telling you these things
To let you know how much I love that man
And woman to woman
I think you’ll understand just how much I’ll do to keep him
I think the messiness of this song is no secret. We all knew it was all types of dysfunctional. Not only was Shirley supporting this grown ass man, he was also cheating on her. And instead of confronting him, putting him out of her home and cutting him off, she hopped on the phone to talk to the other woman. Nah.
What R&B songs do you think sent the wrong message?