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
Featured image by
- New Music Friday: Here's Your Weekend Playlist - xoNecole ... ›
- New Music Friday: Here's Your Weekend Playlist - xoNecole ... ›
- New Music Relases - July 2021 - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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.
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy
The conversation about sex and intimacy often neglects the experiences of individuals with disabilities. Society's misguided notion that individuals with disabilities are devoid of desires for love, intimacy, and sexual fulfillment is not only preposterous but also damaging, but one disability activist is here to challenge that narrative.
"Society's perception of disability has greatly influenced my own understanding and expression of my sexuality," said author and disabled influencer Tylia L. Flores. "The stigma associated with my disability made it difficult for me to express myself freely, leading to self-esteem issues during my teenage years."
Born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Flores refuses to let her condition define her love life or limit her aspirations. As a passionate advocate for her community, she's on a mission to shatter misconceptions and pave the way for a more inclusive understanding of sexuality within the disabled community.
Misconceptions About Sexuality for the Disabled Community
Ableist misconceptions cast shadows over romantic pursuits for disabled individuals. These misunderstandings can lead to assumptions and judgments that hinder their ability to explore and experience love fully.
For instance, Flores revealed that most believe her caregiver, her mother, or another abled-bodied individual has total influence over her decisions with a partner. Contrary to popular belief, Flores wants the world to know she has complete control over her emotions and decisions regarding her dating and sex life.
"By educating others about sexuality and disability, I challenge these stereotypes and break down barriers. By being open about my experiences and advocating for inclusivity, I hope to inspire others to see beyond misconceptions and embrace diverse experiences within the disabled community," Flores stated.
Another misconception is disabled characters in movies, shows, or books cannot be the main character of affection or have sex. Media representations often portray disabled characters as either asexual or objects of pity, reinforcing harmful stereotypes and perpetuating that disabled individuals are not sexual beings.
"The only way we could create a more inclusive world for Black women with disabilities is to have more Black women come out and voice their truths in the mainstream media and literature, and that's my whole goal as an author," said Flores. "I want to see more disabled characters have sex on TV screens and express themselves sexually like abled-bodied characters."
Ignoring The Suggestion of ‘Limited Romance’ in Partners
The stigma surrounding disability and sexuality finds its roots in deeply ingrained societal biases and stereotypes. Throughout history, people with disabilities were systematically marginalized and desexualized, relegated to the fringes of society. This pervasive attitude stems from a misguided belief that disability diminishes one's humanity, erasing desires and needs deemed as "normal" for able-bodied individuals.
"As a Black woman with cerebral palsy, I have faced challenges in navigating intimate relationships. One challenge has been the lingering belief among many that individuals with disabilities should be limited in their romantic choices by only dating or being intimate with other disabled people," Flores explained. "This suggestion is based on assumptions that individuals with physical disabilities are not capable of having fulfilling relationships."
She overcame this by putting herself out there and actively sharing her life and experiences with others. The author also noted that she doesn't have a "type" limited to African Americans or disabled. She prioritized finding love based on shared values, compatibility, and sexual desires. Additionally, she recommended showing yourself without fear of judgment or prejudice when it comes to dating or having a sexual relationship. The right person will value and respect you, disability and all.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Renata Angerami/ Getty Images