A few years ago, psychologists studied the correlation between seasons and romantic relationships. They concluded that the colder the weather, the more likely a relationship had a chance to thrive, hence, "cuffing season." Nevertheless, the warmer the weather, the more likely a relationship is to fail, consequently creating the term, "uncuffing season." "Uncuffing season" is defined as a period, usually the spring and summer, when "people who were previously in relationships during the winter break-up to be free for the summer and warm months." The idea is that once the relationship has concluded, one is able to play the field and not be tied down by the pestering obligations of a relationship. And unfortunately, this seems to be the case for the artists this week.
No longer singing about the best parts, we've entered in the phase of summertime sadness; and boy, is this summer scheduled to be a doozy. Between Leon Bridges' constant questions in "Why Don't You Touch Me," Nao's refusal to return to "Messy Love," and Cynthia Erivo choosing to remember only "The Good" parts of her relationship, it seems like everyone is being "uncuffed" and sent to enjoy their summers alone. Though, there might be light at the end of this tunnel yet. Why? Well, because if they're sent to join their summer's alone, chances are you are, too.
If that's the case, you'll have a couple of new ballads, and upbeat songs, that can help you make it through your summer blues, before finding yet another in the fall and winter months.
1. "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 1" - Leon Bridges
With his new album Gold—Diggers Sound coming out July 23, 2021, Leon Bridges has arrived with part one of two singles, "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 1" (you can listen to "Part 2" here). Like all of his other singles, Bridges' music feels like it has been written and sung by someone beyond his years. In "Why Don't You Touch Me: Part 1," Bridges wonders the title amongst other things, particularly why his lover doesn't seem to love him anymore.
Despite "dressin' to the nines" and his desires to do whatever to improve the relationship, Bridges' lover is distracted by the glitter and gold and continues to fade away. It's sad that his lover doesn't seem to be in love with him anymore, but the saddest part might be the fact that his relationship is ending and he doesn't even know why.
2. "Mad" - Hope Tala
To avoid the "Heartbreak Olympics," I won't say that one heartbreak is worse than the other. Although, when it comes to heartbreak, nothing quite matches the sting that comes from unrequited love. In Hope Tala's newest single "Mad," the 23-year-old London artist sings about having a lover fall out of love, while she is still head over heels. The song plays with an enticing allure, combining an acoustic guitar with a groove reminiscent of Bossa nova and a slowed samba, instead of a piano ballad.
As if her rage is simmering, Tala doesn't raise her voice, but allows her repetition of her wanting to tear her hair out to show her frustrations and sadness to her lover's sudden change in mind. At the end of the song, she is left with more questions than answers, which seems to be the new way of breaking up (a la the previously mentioned "Why Don't You Touch Me"). With her lover not answering her calls, it's hard to say if she'll get the closure she needs to extinguish her inevitable explosion.
3. "Messy Love" - Nao
After the early (leaked) release of her newest single, Nao has officially released "Messy Love" from her upcoming third album. Like her single "Make It Out Alive," in "Messy Love," Nao tells of a love that was once cherished turning into a burden. In a trope that I am glad to see artists taking, Nao decides to place self-love, self-respect, and inner peace over the struggles and insecurities created by an unstable and exhaustive relationship.
Old Nao might've had the energy to chase her lover, she might've had the energy to roll around and enjoy the mess of it all. Nevertheless, after one too many heartbreaks, Nao has reached a place in her life where she refuses to return back to "messy love."
She wants her love to know that she cares about him, but in the end, she will choose herself and her progress over everything, including this relationship.
4. "Wusyaname" - Tyler, the Creator ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla Sign
Only Tyler, the Creator would walk up to a complete stranger and use "Aw, you look malnourished" as a pick-up line. Strangely for Tyler, the Creator, this seems well within his playbook and still might have the potential to work. In his recently released single "Wusyaname," Tyler, the Creator falls in love with a woman at first sight. Pursuing the woman, he hopes to get her attention by hurling insulting compliments one after the other. Creator's advancements are so contradictory that it wouldn't be surprising if this woman had experienced whiplash.
Although, after saying, "That's when I met 'She'"—a reference to his Goblin album and "She" track—it is clear to the audience that this woman probably deserves it. As if jumping into a time machine, the audience is given the moment that eventually leads to the chaotic moment that unravels in his and Frank Ocean's "She." In addition to this magic track, Tyler, the Creator's "Lumberjack" and "Brown Sugar Salmon" singles are out, too.
5. "2 You" - Mariah the Scientist
Something is in the water, and apparently it's forcing everyone to confront or end their relationships. Regardless of what it is, "2 You" is the newest single from Mariah the Scientist's upcoming project, Ry Ry World. In the song, the Atlanta-based artist reflects on a failed relationship. Pointing out her ex's flaws, Mariah addresses feeling disappointing in the direction of their relationship and embarrassment from allowing it to go on for so long. Unlike the singles mentioned before, Mariah the Scientist doesn't wonder why the relationship has ended or how they got there. Instead, she wonders why she doesn't feel at peace with this decision, despite knowing that it was for the best.
6. "BYE" - Jaden
Most artists have something that makes them uniquely and utterly them. For instance, SZA has her word play. J. Cole has his storytelling. Kendrick Lamar has his poetic prose and Jaden has his…well, everything? When I say this, I don't mean it negatively, I mean that Jaden is never the same person when a single is released. This is even shown in his name change from Jaden Smith, to just Jaden. For most artists, the constant change between genres, flow, writing, and artistry wouldn't work. It would make the listener feel like they are following too many artists at once. But for Jaden, it seems to be the main thing keeping his artistry afloat.
In his newest single, "BYE" Jaden ventures to the beach in hopes of repairing his broken relationship. Despite its melancholy theme, the song comes off as a light summer pop/hip-hop track, which juxtaposes the song released from the previous album. Although the songs from Syre are hip-hop tracks, "BYE" leans more into the pop genre with its layered harmonies and almost synthetic voice.
7. "t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l" - WILLOW ft. Travis Barker
There is a special kind of wonderful when a Black woman is in the alternative/indie genre. There is an even more special kind of wonderful when she seems like she'll dominate the genre, if given the chance. Returning with Blink 182 drummer, Travis Baker, Willow Smith has released a new hit, "Transparent Soul." The single is mixture of the early 2000s alternative/rock and 80s grunge, with a new 2021 spin. Her voice is powerful and dominating as she sings about being able to see through all of the lies of her subject. Whether she is talking to a lover, former friend, or just an over confident stranger, Willow puts her subject in their place as she tries to navigate between friends and foe.
8. "Pasadena" - Tinashe ft. Buddy
I just can't stop smiling when I hear this song. This is a bop, a groove, a shimmy, and a shake.. Ahead of her fifth album, Tinashe returns with her exhilarating new single "Pasadena." This upbeat track focuses on the pride and joy one obtains when they live freely and embrace the moment. With a fun video filled with group dancing, penthouses, and a beautiful skyline, "Pasadena" has the potential to be a song you need on repeat this summer.
9. "Bed Friend" - Jacquees ft. Queen Naija
With his newest single from his new album P.T.O.F, Jacquees and Queen Naija team up to tell the story of friends who've become lovers. Unlike the typical "friends with benefits" set up, Jacquees talks about falling in love with his best friend while still being in a relationship with another. He knows that his desire for his friend over his girlfriend is wrong, but he can't seem to stop making comparisons and he can't seem to want to invest in his relationship because of this. He is aware that he and his best friend are moving past the boundaries of their friendship, though, despite this knowledge he leans fully in, hoping that the relationship "doesn't end in a dead in." After all, if this doesn't work out, Jacquees is aware that he has more to lose than just "Bed Friend."
10. "The Good" - Cynthia Erivo
The last five years have been kind to Cynthia Erivo. Between her discovery in London, her Tony, Grammy, and Emmy awards, her roles in blockbuster movies (Harriet, Bad Times at the El Royale, and Widows), and the Aretha Franklin mini series, she has shown that hard work truly pays off. Now, she is tackling another milestone, this one in the form of her upcoming debut album. From Ch. 1 vs. 1, Erivo has released her newest single "The Good." The song tells a story about a failed relationship, but instead of mourning its absence, she choose to remember the good times. Despite the somber lyrics, the song is upbeat and almost playful while she sings soulfully and powerfully. Released during Pride Month, Erivo's video has her in a tumultuous same-sex relationship, which is rarely seen between two Black women, unless you're counting the recent season of Masters of None.
Keep scrolling for more singles released in the week of June 18 to June 25!
"Feeling Good" - Chloe Bailey
"Talk About It" - Jungle
"Letter to My Daughter" - NLE Chopper
"Live from the Country" - Logic
"Wish List" - Joey Trap
"Muddy Flow" - Kill Jasper
"Genesis" - Azizi Gibson ft. AKTHESAVIOR
"You the Type" - CJ Fly
DaBaby - "Ball If I Want To"
"LAW OF AVERAGES" - Vince Staples
"Angles" - Wale ft. Chris Brown
"When You Love Someone" - Tone Stith ft. H.E.R.
"Formwela 5" - Esperanza Spalding ft. Corey King
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Taysha Robinson is a writer and high school English teacher, based in metro-Atlanta. A self described philomath, you can find her reading books and articles of every genre, attending educational conferences, and hiking wherever the terrain will allow.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Exclusive: Teyana Taylor And Director A.V Rockwell Explore Black Motherhood In New Film, 'A Thousand And One'
“This was a match made in denim and door-knocker heaven!” Actress Teyana Taylor jokingly said after letting out a laugh. She was referring to her relationship with the main character Inez De La Paz, in the film A Thousand and One, approaching theaters nationwide this Friday.
Set against the backdrop of 90s - early 2000s Harlem at the inception of gentrification, A Thousand and One chronicles the life of a 20-something-year-old mother of color raising her son. The film captures the realness and relatability of motherhood, family, and marriage. The movie stars multi-talented actress/entertainer Teyana Taylor, William Cartlett, Aaron Kingsley, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Terri Abney. It was executive produced by Lena Waithe and was written and directed by A.V. Rockwell.
This film was written through the lens of the often complicated relationship between mothers and sons. However, it isn't your typical movie about urban Black motherhood. No one gets shot, has a drug addiction, and if you ask me, Inez De La Paz (Teyana Taylor’s character) is a ‘shero’; she saves the day, or at least Terry’s life (her son).
This multilayered film touches on the challenges faced while establishing a life following a prison sentence, the flawed NYC foster care system, motherhood, marriage, love, the relationship between a father and son, and Black NYC neighborhoods at the onset of gentrification.
"There's a lot of pain in it, and in order to express pain, there has to be a love that comes with it. So I felt like the movie was a love letter to Black women but a heartbreak letter to New York City…. We contributed so much to the city and made it the special place that it is," said Rockwell. I asked myself, 'How do I reconcile the fact that this place that I love and that is home to me never loved me?'
Teyana Taylor and Aaron Kingsley Adetola.
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
Both Rockwell and Taylor are New York natives, Rockwell is from Queens, and Taylor is from Harlem. The pair agreed they directly related to the lead character, Inez. During our conversation, Taylor explained how we could all connect with Inez. "Inez is within us from being judged or considered difficult for your strength, for your voice, for your tone, no matter how right you are, you're wrong because you're too loud… When you minimize yourself, it's an issue. You're not enough, and when you maximize yourself, it's too much," she said.
According to Rockwell, Taylor auditioned for the role and earned it fair and square, "Nobody can take away from the fact that she earned this role in all the right ways. I think it's great to have that cherry on top. The fact that she's a Harlem girl and that this is a movie about protecting her neighborhood not only what it means to us New Yorkers but what it means to black identity and history in general," she said. "Not only are we honoring Harlem, [but] she is [also] a part of that history that we are trying to protect. I'm really proud of that as well. This person who is a part of this historic neighborhood gets to be the one leading the torch of this role."
We all know Taylor as the uber-talented singer, dancer, actress, fashionista, entrepreneur, artist, wife, and mother. She seems to do it all so effortlessly, but Taylor described the role as therapeutic. It allowed her to put down that superwoman persona while filming on set. "The easy part about this role was that I'm already a mom, so I'm naturally nurturing… In some ways, Inez became very therapeutic for me because it was the only time that I could actually be weak and turn off my strength, and cry and let out all of the things I was battling," the "Rose in Harlem" singer revealed.
Director A.V. Rockwell
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
After watching Taylor master the leading role of this complicated story, it's not absurd to think she may be awarded extensively for her portrayal of Inez. Taylor told me she's ready for everything to come but isn't looking to get too comfortable while soaking up the likely inflow of accolades, "I'm ready. I think it's everything that I prayed for. I think this is God saying ok, here you go… I'm blessed, and I'm grateful, and I just want to continue to just keep working hard and not get too comfortable. Stay hungry, stay the hustler that I am…this is really only just the beginning."
It's not every day we get to see a film with a Black woman starring in a leading role. Furthermore, it's not common to see a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning movie directed by a Black woman. It's no secret that diversity in Hollywood is uncommon, and the aforementioned are all the more reasons we should visit theaters this Friday to see A Thousand and One.
Not only is this film amazing storytelling, but the production of this film helps to move the needle of diversifying Hollywood and creating spaces for Black women in the film industry forward.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Focus Features