Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 8 – Hella Happy

Satisfied look on Issa’s face as she was walking down the street was everything, as the shot panned over what’s looking like my new home…

Missed the last episode? See last week’s review.

Shut up, shut up, shaddap! I can hear everyone now, talkin’ bout, “no, don’t do it Issa, Lawrence is a fuckboy!” Y’all’s dry, lifeless pussies need to snap shut and let a woman live. Issa’s making better decisions now. Let me tell you why I say that.

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Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 7 – Molly and Molly

What can I say about this episode that probably has not already been said? After all, I am 2 days late on my review.  The truth is, I don’t know what’s been said because I didn’t look at what other writers have written.

Missed the last episode? See last week’s review.

The process of writing about this show means a lot to me and I just want to keep my reviews pure. Speak from the heart. With that said, I do not want to talk about racism, even though the conversation helped drive the story of the episode. I’m exhausted from current events; I just don’t. So I won’t.

 

Molly and Andrew’s relationship is developing, but what’s more interesting to me is the relationship dynamics between Molly and herself.

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Insecure Season 4 Episode 6
Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 6 – Issa and Issa

Ahhhhh…that’s the feeling I felt while watching the critically acclaimed show, Insecure, in what marks the beginning of the 2nd half of its fourth season. Because it was damn satisfying. Let me tell you why.

Maybe the prior criticisms that were thought to be premature were right – the story was lagging and becoming complacent in its focus on the romantic relationships between Issa, Molly, and their men. That’s why episode 6 does not disappoint.

The writers proved to understand their audience by bringing them some very introspective Issa centered content, and I loved it.

The earlier seasons were building up and beginning to focus on Issa and Molly’s friendship solely but they still involved men and their relationships with them as part of the reason they were drifting apart. But not this time.

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Insecure Season 4 Episode 5
Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 5 – Molly and Issa need therapy

After an afternoon at the lake, I’ve taken off my handmade wig and peeled off my lashes. I’m in the perfect frame of mind to relax into a new episode of Insecure. It’s become a ritual now, and this time, while watching with bae, (and forbidden to provide commentary during the show) I knew I was going to love this episode from the first DM slide.

I love DM slides, and I love how the show uses them to push the story forward because ain’t that what happens in real life?

I could hear the black community collectively sighing when Issa was considering sending Nathan that first text. And why? He hasn’t done Issa as “dirty” as hardly any of the other major relationships she’s had. Yes, ghosting is bad. But betrayal and lying are worse. I think it’s safe to text Nathan. I like Nathan for Issa because he helps Issa get out of her head.

For now.

I was confused though. Maybe I missed something but…Nate was in LA the whole time? And even though he’s generally still on my good side, I wouldn’t necessarily trust him with my personal friendships. She ain’t had to tell him all that shit that went down with Molly. That wasn’t his business.

The Block Party was so blackety black, I felt that in my soul

Keli is slowly becoming my favorite of the 4 friends. She’s funny, she’s randy, and she’s not afraid to be proud of lying. I think more people should shamelessly reinvent themselves like she does with every new guy.

I love how the block party incorporates the diversity of Issa’s impeccable and up to the minute music taste. Throughout the show, her musical influence appears to have been consistent. It just feels like her stamp is on everything.

But the fight though. I truly undressed the point that Molly was trying to make, but she kept pushing her.

 

Molly and Issa could benefit from couple’s therapy

“I love her but I just don’t really like her right now.” – Molly

You know, I was listening to Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D., a psychologists talk about friendship on her podcast. (It’s only 9 minutes, you should listen below). She talks about 3 major insights that people don’t really think about when it comes to major friendships in their life.

  1. As we get older, friendships take more effort to maintain. 
  2. It’s normal for things to shift. As we change, so do our relationships. 
  3. When we sense things changing, instead of shifting with it, we often feel that it’s impossible to salvage and we must discard it, but maybe not.  Maybe it’s possible to keep our friendships, even when they change.

Or maybe Issa just needs a whole slew of friends. I really didn’t like the way Condola made it seem like Issa had something to do with her and Lawrence breaking up, and gave her that judgemental, light-skinned stare. Issa had nothing to do with it! But we still don’t know the results of that late-night slide DM slide that Law gave Issa. I wonder if the show will circle back around to it.

Of the different attachment styles (look them up, it’ll blow your mind), Issa appears to be an avoider. She has probably benefited from having a friend like Molly who pushes her to actually talk about things that she would probably more than likely avoid forever (like me). But, the toxic and destructive way that Molly approaches problems has just run its course with Issa.

Issa continually “dismissed” Molly’s relationship by making one-off comments about how it wouldn’t last. But Molly has done that to Issa with many areas of her life: her job, her block party, even her relationships. Molly feels ignored, excluded, and betrayed. Issa feels stressed, pressured, and blamed for doing nothing wrong. It’s the perfect storm.

You’re going to be most offended by what you’re the most sensitive about. But how do you approach someone about something that’s bothering you without bringing negative energy into their life?

An even better question, how do you allow someone to grow? Here’s more insight on that from a therapist.

How have you dealt with your friendships changing?

 

Listen to the podcast below:

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Insecure Season 4 Episode 4 - Issa and Molly
Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 4 – My Short Review (Only Insiders Will Get It 😏)

 For the past few weeks I’ve been doing “lightning reviews” of one of the most-watched televisions shows in history by Black people since the Cosby show. In fact, Issa Rae is more important than the Cosby show because Issa Rae is NOW, and is the voice of a variety of our voices in our very non-monolithic Black generation. (Growing up, I watched the Cosby kids wishing I could be like them. I watch Issa because I feel like I AM like her).

I want to do my small part in progenating conversations about this epic show. Usually, I write essays that 4 people read. And in order for me to get faster with posting, I take notes during the show on scenes that I will commentate on before the final credits roll.

Not tonight.

Why?

Because today, I spent 5 hours cleaning my very small room in my parent’s house.

Today, I threw away tons of old stuff representing old thoughts that are clogging my pipeline I’ll be using to siphon off 6 figure blessings as a full-time writer.

And today, I ate a smoothie bowl with a special brownie crumble on top, so…

Today, I’m high.

And if you want a more in-depth (in order) analysis of this episode?

You’re just gonna have to watch.

But take a peek at my Notes. (Only Insiders will get it.)

  1. Perfect Molly.
  2. I WISH A MF WOULD CALL ME OR ANYTHING ABOUT ME BORING!!! ( I can’t believe that Molly just brushed it off? I mean, how are you going to really integrate someone into your life if they don’t even wanna hear about what you do? I mean, since we’re the generation of “eating off of your passion,” I’m sure lawyering is not just a job for Molly…trust me. You’re going  to see this come up as a reason for some foolery later. Hopefully with the snack who popped his head in the office…
  3. Issa rapping 🥰
  4. wtf is that fine *ss dude at the lawyer’s office?
  5. Black women laughing about “losing a black man” to white women and NOT GIVING A FUCK.
  6. Perfect Molly (coiffing her hair during sex 😉 )
  7. How spoiled is that child gonna be??
  8. The baby looks Asian or something
  9. WHOA wtf is that joke that the father just made about the baby? #TRIGGERED.
  10. This is the way Amanda’s gonna actually be when she has a child.
  11. KELLI.😍😂
  12. NATURAL. 👏🏾HAIR.👏🏾 CLIP. 👏🏾INS👏🏾!
  13. That NOD, YES I WANNA TALK look that Issa does sooooo subtly. 😏
  14. LOOK AT THAT FAKE ASS BABY AMANDA IS HOLDING! (for a few split second scenes I swear that was not a real child!)
  15. The Issa on the other side of the mirror talkin bout “I got shit goin on over here too!” 💀
  16. Molly just LOOKS rich. And wealthy.
  17. Mmmmmm. I wanna kiss my main.
  18. But back to Issa and Molly’s convo…damn Molly seems needy. I mean I know she needs her friend right now but she has to take consideration for the pressure that Issa’s under. Looks like she can’t just be NOT effing up SOME relationship with SOMEONE, even if it isn’t her man. I guess it’s hard to juggle being vulnerable in two important relationships. On her defense though, I know it’s hard to feel like all you want to do is just talk to your friend, even if you haven’t’ been seeing eye to eye, for weeks now, even months. Hell, sometimes years – only to have them call you to ask you a favor.

It hurts.

What did you think if the last episode of Insecure?

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Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 3 – Condola, her fake nice girl facade, and Issa’s resentment towards her

I knew from the thumbnail that it was gonna be a problem. And then I heard the squeal in Issa’s voice when she bumps into Lawrence….with Condola….in her summer fresh skin, boobs poppin, and CORNROWS.

This is the episode where we begin to see that all isn’t well in LaLa land. (LAwrence and CondoLA). And where we see Issa finally getting REAL with her feelings about Lawrence.

This chapter of the story ended with a will they or won’t they cliffhanger, and we got to see some of the issues emerging in Lawrence’s and Condola’s relationship that are revealing themselves now that they’re settling into coupledom.

The tough questions are asked:

Lawrence to Condola:

“Are you still getting over your ex?”

Condola to Lawrence:

“If Issa hadn’t cheated, would you still be with her?”

And Issa’s brother to her about Molly:

“Y’all good?”

I want to talk about 2/3 of Issa’s Throuple first:

Why Condola isn’t a great role model for women in relationships

Condola is starting to get on my nerves. She’s impossibly bubbly and polite – almost to a fault. When she was first introduced on the show, I thought she was a better communicator than Issa, who we know can be terribly avoidant and shut down. But Condola is also not being totally upfront about her feelings in this relationship. When obvious haziness about where each one stands as  far as the status of the relationship comes to a head after a Friendsgiving Dinner, (but isn’t it April though?), she passive aggressively answers Lawrence’s thanking her for inviting him with a, “Well, technically, I didn’t invite you, but I’m super glad you came. It was definitely better with you here.” All said with a smile of course. WOOOW.

And technically, she DIDN’T invite him. He DID invite himself. And he not being able to take that reminder with a laugh and move on only indicated HIS insecurity with their status, in the relationship AND in life (more on that next). But she made it seem like she would have invited him, if it weren’t for him- “I didn’t know you wanted to come.” CLASSIC MOVE, shiting the blame. (Could Condola be a Cancer?)

Later she said she didn’t want to put pressure on him – that could be true, which is understandable, but all of this just seems like in an effort to not rock the boat. She would keep her mouth shut while slowly holdong on to resentment, rotting inside.

And then it came out. She WASN’T feeling him and Issa’s ease of friendship. But what pisses me off about her, and I was rooting for her, is that she clearly was not OK with it for way longer than she had indicated that night – but she would rather stuff her feelings down to keep the peace. Don’t be  that type of woman. It’s bad for you, it’s bad for relationships…and it’s bad for women.

The issue of class in Black couples is addressed, again

Part of me can’t help but think that Lawrence is feeling a bit out of sorts with Condola. Issa reminds him of his comfort zone. Being with a woman like Condola feels like it can be a lot of pressure for someone like Lawrence who ideally wants to provide, and at least pay for dates. Condola’s house, and friends, all hint at a lifestyle that he couldn’t give Issa and still can’t provide for Condola.

And I’m not sure he wants to. Her drunk friend doesn’t seem to feel that they’re a long term match either. Just when I thought she was going to do some inappropriate flirting with her friends boyfriend in her fabulous kitchen while everyone stiffly chuckles about something expensive in her den, she blurts out that Lawrence is just want Condola needs – a rebound.

Lawrence seems like he needs and desires a bit of ratchet to go with this refinery. And Condola doesn’t seem to have a bit of ratchet to go with her righteous. I know for me, I can be in rich spaces, but sometimes I need a dive bar just to feel grounded. I’ve always been a bit rough around the edges. I think that’s what Lawrence loves about Issa – even though she’s progressing, she can still meet him where he is.

I’m not here for Lawrence and Issa getting back together

Still, if he tried to come crawling back to Issa now, while in the new relationship with Condola, maybe it will be fucked up love story. She cheats, now he cheats, but not on her, but with her, and with her friend…It would just be a hot mess that would prove Molly right – Issa might be getting in over her head.

At least she started getting real with her brother about it. At least she admitted that she does hold a bit of resntment towards Condola. And I’m sure Molly could be a great friend to her during this time of realization if she didn’t keep brushing her off.

 

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Amber Mark for @irkmagazine | By @juliacomita | Hair @nikoweddle | make up @raisaflowers
Celebrities, Culture, Music

How Amber Mark’s cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” Did and Didn’t Surprise Me

It’s just too good.

I’m shocked that:

Heart-Shaped Box is a cover song from Nirvana.

This rock classic that apparently true rock heads would know is totally lost on me, but when I first heard it (just now) it felt like a home of sorts, musically. I had already embodied Smells Like Teen Spirit and heard countless reinterpretations. So this was nice to still be discovering something new from a band that has for years inspired me performance-wise.

I’m also delightfully surprised that

Amber Mark produced it.

In fact, she produces ALL her music.

That factoid totally blew me away. She’s only in her early 20’s and has produced two critically acclaimed albums. Yes, I said PRODUCED. She is a producer and engineer – proof that you CAN be good at more than one thing. “I enjoy working alone because I can be most creative,” she says, so that means there’s not one fucking with her vibe. Her sound and message come through so STRONG in her lyrics. She’s mysterious yet grounded, assertive yet vulnerable, and even apprehensive in the songs I love by her, like “Put You On,” “Love Me Right,” newer singles, the I wanna fuck you rat now level sexy trap-inspired R&B song “Generous,” and of course, although the lyrics aren’t her own, “Heart-Shaped Box.”

 

Here’s what I’m NOT surprised about:

Amber’s reinterpretation of the song is so DOPE!

I mean, it sounds nothing like the original but it still stays true to the sentiment of the original. And I’ve gotten used to the way she does her melodies, they are very pop-like, melodic, bouncy, catchy, and memorable. But this? This was something that was turned on its head. It will have you nodding your head with a stank face on. That BOUNCE though!

 

Amber’s turning world’s pain into a project.

I’m  not surprised that she’s doing what artists do sometimes, and taking this opportunity of the downtime of quarantine to create. COVERED-19, her self isolation playlist, will have a new upload every 2 weeks of covers. (So far it only has 2 songs, “Heart-Shaped Box,” and “Waiting,” so I won’t post it here because it’s not robust enough yet – but follow Amber’s COVID – 19 inspired playlist on Spotify.)

An ode to creating in solitude, I guess 2 heads are not better than one in this case.

Love you guys, and feel no pressure. Just work, live, and love at your own pace, but enjoy this shit. She also did a video for the song. Very much on the brand (including the twerk. I don’t see how you can have a homemade video without twerk at this point – I wouldn’t). Very much enjoyable, but still just a tease for the full track. 

 

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insecure molly and issa rae season 4 episode 2 review
Celebrities, Culture, Relationships, Reviews, Sex

Insecure Season 4 Episode 2 – Thoughts on Molly, Issa, and her budding Throupledom

My thoughts and feelings on Season 4, Episode 2 of one of the top shows on HBO – Insecure.

Why does it seem like every time we watch another episode of Insecure, they shave a few minutes off of the episode?I can’t believe they left us hanging like that –  is it going to be the end of the season that we finally see why Issa and Molly are no longer friends?

Insecure did a good job in this episode, they made Molly more bareable, which made us want the friendship between Issa and Molly to work for one more episode.

I’ve talked a lot about friendship on this blog, – particularly when they hurt, or when they end. Sometimes you move on from a friendship because you feel betrayed, you outgrow the relationship, or you realize through actually getting to know them that the connection was really shallow and you never had enough in common to form a deep bond in the first place. Still, something was keeping you there.

This definitely isn’t the case with Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) . We can see they’ve shared similar values and views on relationships, and their lifestyles contrasted just enough to where they’d be able to feed off of each other. I think each one is slightly envious of the other’s life in what started off in a healthy way. Issa may wonder what it’s like to be in a highly respected role in society as an attourney while she’s slowly rebranding herself.  With her choosing to go into nonprofit as a career, she doesn’t  have the lush and expensive lifestyle that Molly maintains while still having time to date and hang out with friends.

Molly seems to be jealous of Issa’s creativity and ability to bounce back after the heartbreak of her 5 year relationship ending with Lawrence (Jay Ellis), and the carefree attitude she has towards the new men that come into her life – and life in general.

As good of a compliment as they are to each other’s lives, the show is definitely setting the scene for there to be a huge fallout or a friend break up but it’s just not getting there fast enough. Maybe that means that they’re doing a good job.

Molly was becoming unlikeable, but she redeemed herself in this episode

Molly’s character was way more relatable in this episode. On the surface and in Episode 1 of this season, she just seemed like a scared and bitter friend who was hating on Issa’s preoccupation with building her new life,  creative alchemy (using the resources she had to create something new) and as awkward as it was, her new friend who just happens to be Lawrence’s (her ex’s) new boo.

But now, Molly’s softer. I see more a sisterly concern for her friend than bitchy bitterness in this episode. She’s scared for Issa, she knows how sensitive she can get about Lawrence. Sure, Issa seems over him, but it was a 5-year relationship –  an on and off again relationship that broke Issa to the core and has taken her a long time to recover from. 

Not to mention that it’s safe to say that the show is presenting the new girlfriend, Condola (Christina Elmore), as a step up from Issa. She seems like a lot of what Issa seems to be striving for or already has – a cushy career in entertainment, killer style (did you see those boots she had on as she was walking down the ave?), that same carefree bubbly attitude, and, dare I say it…the man of her (Issa’s?) dreams?

It doesn’t make it any less complicated that Issa needs Condola in order to get the next step she’s getting to in life. Which is kind of ironic, because she broke up with Lawrence because he wasn’t where Issa thought he should be, and now he has totally leveled up.

That’s got to make you wonder, is Issa subconciously getting closer to Condola to get closer to Lawrence and step into Condola’s (fly ass) shoes?

So I understand Molly’s apprehension and discomfort with Issa’s and Condola’s new girlfriendship. How can Issa judge Molly’s life choices in relationships when she doesn’t seem to have the career she wants or the man that she wants? It’s quite clear that she does seem to have something that Molly doesn’t, which is a kind of inner peace, but a now that I’m closely examining the situation, this could be just what Molly called it out to be – a hot ass piece of shit mess that Issa refuses to see is eventually going to hit the fan. Molly doesn’t want to see Issa hurt again. Not like that. Not by her own naivete and immaturity.

Molly is taking Issa’s advice though

Molly seems to be open to correcting her behavior after the fact – but like most deeply ingrained defence mechanisms and bad habits, she doesn’t seem to be able to fix it before it happens. That tells me she’s not dedicating as much time to self development so that she can prevent these problems before they start. Does she truly want to change?

But this time, I think Molly was right. Asian Bae Andrew (Alexander Hodge) overreacted in my opinion, but I’m glad he left Molly with her own thoughts (in that beautiful ass apartment overlooking LA night lights with a particularly fragrant looking glass of red).

Those self-care Sundays seem to at least have her open and relaxed enough to take a suggestion or two from Issa. But Issa doesn’t have a stellar life, so how can she talk shit? Do you have to have a perfect life in order to give someone advice?

What other people said about Season 4, Episode 1

Earlier criticisms of the show include that  it centers too much on Issa and Mollly’s relationships with men, and that the friends Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) and Tiffany (Amanda Seales) are underdeveloped characters this season – but we were only 1 episode in at that point.

Personally, I like seeing black women in these complex situations, always with that really relatable awkwardness that Issa Rae has been so good at capturing since she first came on the scene with Awkward Black Girl.

A good love story is my favorite type of story, especially a chocolately, caramel-ly, almond buttery black one, so I am not mad at all about the emphasis on romantic partnerships on this season or any other. This THREE-lationship, trio, throuple between Issa, Condola and Lawrence can evolve on for the rest of the show – I can only imagine how deep and entangle this web can you get and I’m loving it.

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SemiSolid is a playlist of new and emerging artists in music. Clockwise: Brandy Haze, Serena Isioma, Toye, Marcus Charles, and Nnamdi (center)
Art, Celebrities, Culture, Music, Playlists

S E M I ⧭ S O L I D (oobleck) – 5 New Artists you should listen to right now to cope with COVID

S E M I ⧭ S O L I D (oobleck) is a playlist made solely of new artists and their best and most current work. They’re still proving themselves in this media circus we call the music business, but you I’ve confidently added them to my playlist. You can, too. 

SemiSolid is a playlist of new and emerging artists in music. Clockwise: Brandy Haze, Serena Isioma, Toye, Marcus Charles, and Nnamdi (center)

SemiSolid is a playlist of new and emerging artists in music. Clockwise: Brandy Haze, Serena Isioma, Toye, Marcus Charles, and Nnamdi (center)

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Art, Celebrities, Culture, Important People, Life, Music, New York City, Personal Liberation, Politics/World Issues, Sex

Once I Was A Stripper: Songs by Drake and Roberta Flack, One Conclusion on ‘that Life’

It’s all the same. Drake’s song “305 To My City” and Roberta Flack’s 1969 classic “Trade Winds.” These two songs are talking about the same tragic dynamics of America.

What inspired this post was, yesterday, a man who I’d been seeing told me that he had taken his 21-year-old cousin to a strip club.

What I’m thinking about all of this is:

Here you are, a man who I’m thinking about taking more seriously. Intelligent, emotionally supportive. Has a passion, but I don’t know if you’re following it. You take your cousin to this club and you call me from there, we talk about our relationship briefly while you take a cigarette break. I’m touched that you called but disgusted at the fact that you’re there. This is beyond some immature insane old paradigm idea that I own you and I’m upset at you looking at naked women. No, from a real grown up, feminist, spiritual, economic perspective, I am disappointed in your choice.

Strippers can make a lot of money, as Drake talks about in the song “305 To My City,” but when you live in a society where it seems that the fields that women make the most money without a higher education degree are places where their bodies are only seen as sexual objects, you can’t argue that that is the best we can do as far as economic empowerment for women. Interview a stripper. Is she happy and fulfilled? Does she feel she is looked at as a whole person at her job? Now interview 100 of them. What are the odds now? I know most regular jobs sap the human soul. I’m pointing out that being seen as only a sexual object is a unique kind of soul-sapping. I won’t get into why, because I don’t know. I just feel it.

“305 To My City” is a song about a woman who is a stripper and has stacked enough money from her earnings to put a down payment on a Jaguar. Her parents don’t approve of her lifestyle but she is “shining on them hoes” (meaning doing way better than her peers, competitors, and friends) and appears to be in control of her life. It’s my own projections, assumptions, and judgments, but I am skeptical of the true happiness of any woman who feels she must exchange sexual gratification for money in that type of environment. I don’t think there are many who aren’t deeply hurting and ashamed inside. When I did it, I know I wasn’t happy.

But everyone isn’t me.

I knew that I could not live that kind of lifestyle no matter how broke I was. I had a loving supportive home where my other talents, besides being sexy, were encouraged. We can assume the woman had at least two parents in her life who care about her, because they think what she is doing is only a phase, and it must be damaging to her, and they want her to stop. Drake totally gets it. Him, coming from the bottom, celebrates the pinnacle of his success in lavish strip clubs, throwing money at women who, even if they love what they do, probably wouldn’t want to do it in that type of environment. I believe the sexual energy in these places is terribly misdirected.

I remember reading Jenna Jameson’s How to be a Porn Star when I was in high school.

She talked about how even if you work in a high-end club there are several physical, mental and emotional pitfalls that come with working in a club. (Tip: wear knee pads.)

She talked about how even if you work in a high-end club there are several physical, mental and emotional pitfalls that come with working in a club. (Tip: wear knee pads.)

And while I’m not referring to oral sex in that last sentence, I should be. Several women who are strippers end up becoming prostitutes. Stripping can often be a gateway job into other sex work.

This reminds me of the line from Roberta Flack’s Trade Winds…

“Young girls who’ll soon become

(walkers of the avenue)

streetwalkers in the night.”

The line, or one close to it in the song, made me break down in tears on a bus at JFK one night.

I was on my way to another job that I hated. And I thought if I must feel this much misery going to a job that I hate, yet people often respect (I was a flight attendant for the military), what more must a woman feel where she goes to a job where she is degraded by most of society? Better yet, where she degrades herself? I’m not saying self-degradation doesn’t happen in many other jobs. One might argue that almost any job can be done with at least a sliver of dignity. I have argued another side to this argument many times. You know, the “sex-worker-as-empowered-woman” side. It doesn’t fly when I remember my own experience. When you take that first step into the underground you are often desperate. Maybe not only for money. Maybe for something else, like love.

That is how these two songs are related in my mind. Drake’s bass heavy, club-ready song doesn’t glorify the profession of sex industry worker but acknowledges that it is a means to an end; the woman has made some good financial choices that have allowed her to do what many Americans can’t, which is put a down payment on a luxury car. It neglects to say anything of the degradation she may have endured while she continues to work at the club, day in, and day out. It could be worse. At least he is proud of her. From this superstar she is getting the approval of her achievements that she certainly isn’t getting from the father in her life right now.

The somber mood of Flack’s Trade Winds, with the chorus sounding like sad angels of a community crying out for its children, before they reach their sordid fate, paints just how grim the picture of coming from poor beginnings can be. It ticks off the very real ills of society that make becoming a stripper a first, or last, choice for so many women, particularly, Black women. After all, trade winds are a natural phenomenon. Ships use them to trade goods, and bodies. I’ve written about sex trafficking and it is tragic that because of factors that are out of their hands, so many women will end up being seen as goods, traded for sexual gratification by people, to people, who fail to see the innocence of their victims, and refuse to acknowledge the innocent parts of themselves.

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