Jazmine Sullivan’s highly anticipated, “Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe” album was released February 11. Earlier this month, Lighthouse contributor, Jessiree Jenkins, looked back at the original album “Heaux Tales” to revisit themes and thoughts the interludes and songs inspired.
I too went back to re-listen to the album in preparation for the release of “Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe.” What I recognized most during my revisit of the original was a recurring theme of longing in each of the songs and corresponding interludes. Every woman we hear on the first album is looking for the love, sex, intimacy, respect, money, and freedom that they deserve.
In the deluxe album, we find a new set of women sharing their truths and Jazmine continuing to explore the lives of Black women searching for and finding ways to get a little freer.
“I was angry sweating. Like not even good sweat,
the sweat that I deserved. It was just pure rage sweat.”
Issa’s (Issa Rae!) Tale kicks off the expanded album and she tells it the only way Issa can.
Oh, the plans we make in our heads when it comes to men. If you’ve dated any significant amount of time, you know those plans are often a waste of time and lead to disappointment. Ever buy lingerie with him in mind and fantasize about a night to remember, only for him to ignore the packaging and rush you out of it or not even bother to show up? Issa’s tale is that disappointment, but with a hell of a punchline.
“Who was lying when they told you you was all that?”
Released in the summer of 2021 as a single, it now holds its rightful spot on Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe” and sets the stage for the unreleased half of the album. He may have wasted your time and you may have wasted your good pannies, but you can always reclaim your time from those who don’t appreciate you.
“I just didn’t wanna be alone”
This is the first time we hear a tale straight from Sullivan. Rather than interpreting or relating to another woman’s experience through song she provides insights on why she stayed in toxic relationships in the past well past their expiration date.
Girls come out the womb being taught how to romanticize love, romance, and relationships because that is what society wants for them. We’re also socialized to understand that if we exist outside of the confines of what is deemed attractive (Black, fat, dark-skinned), you should expect to accept whatever you can get from the world and men. Accept less than you deserve because you aren’t loveable if your proximity to whiteness is as far as it can get. These lies tempt us to believe another, maybe worse lie: that our worth is tied up in whether or not we’re in a romantic relationship with a man.
“Hurt Me So Good”
“And I’m just a shadow of all that I was”
Is all about the cycle of being with someone who doesn’t treat you right despite knowing that you deserve better. It’s the internal battle of hanging on to someone who treats you with disrespect or disinterest and no longer being able to avoid the truth of why you stay.
“A Breaux’s Tale”
“I was so tight and embarrassed”
We hear from a man on his tale of love. As he comes to the end of his story, he says disbelievingly, “She pulled a me, on me.” When I tell you I laughed! How many women do you think he pulled that same mess with before he got to her? How many of them felt that same sense of heartache and embarrassment he felt in that moment?
“You just gotta fall in line”
What happens when women say enough and begin dating like the men they’ve been fooled by? App dating has made the ability to connect worse because everyone believes they have options. What you won’t do someone else will, so why limit myself?
Every woman has had that moment when they confessed their feelings to a man only to be told not to catch feelings or that they are a part of the roster, and they can either be satisfied with the crumbs they are being served or move on. So, we adapt. No more daydreaming and believing that this could maybe be something real. Just assume that it’s not because the man you are talking to is likely already operating as if you are a stopover.
“I give sweat, hump, pelvic thrust”
Mona’s no pillow queen and she knows that if you lay down with her, you will not go through the rest of your life not remembering the sex you had with her. Enjoying casual sex is ok. Enjoying your body is ok. Pleasure is for everyone.
“When you say I’m the greatest, I start acting up”
This is all about sexual prowess. In the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways women are taught to be passive about their pleasure. BPW stands for Best P***y in the World and explores the tale of a woman who is enjoying her body and pursuing her pleasure full throttle during a casual encounter. You deserve pleasure and if you have pursued it with seriousness, you may find yourself humming this the next time you catch up with a lover.
“He just wanted to enjoy the easy parts of me”
The one-sided relationship. Sometimes it can sneak up on you. When life is tough, it’s easy to let someone who makes you feel good in a little further than usual, just for relief from whatever you are dealing with. You’re vulnerable and there are people who will gladly take advantage of that.
“You must be out your rabid-ass mind”
When I talk to people about relationship problems a recurring theme of these conversations is the fact that many men want all the privileges of adulthood and relationships but none of the responsibility. This leaves the women that love them in a tough spot. You give and give only to be told that you don’t deserve the same kind of sacrifice and abundance of love and care.
“Heaux Tales Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe” is a beautiful extension of the original album. The storytelling continues to flourish, and Sullivan’s vocals continue to floor her audience. I won’t say that “Heaux Tales Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe” is better than “Heaux Tales” because I think they both have space to exist, but how wonderful is it to be given more of what we loved about the original album. Brava, Ms. Sullivan. Brava.