There's not much in this world that I love more than queen muva, Helen Folasade Adu. My mother used to tell me that she would have her sing to me when I was in the womb, which may be why her music has followed me from adolescence into adulthood (where she absolutely blasts regularly). Additionally, I grew up often hearing that sultry voice blaring throughout the house, as it was common for Sade Lover's Live DVD to be playing on infamous, clean-up Sundays. Sure, most of Sade's songs were created and released before I could even walk, but of course, that never mattered, her music always managed to translate regardless. And her lowkey aesthetic and dark, sexy, timeless, indie style-of-music, always seemed to hit the spot. Each classic: unmatched. Her voice: subtle, but powerful. And the melodies: carefully crafted just enough to get lost in.
In an era of hair bands, adult contemporary power players, a hip-hop uprising, and androgynous stars such as Bowie, Prince and Elton John, Sade showed that they could compete; compete as a black woman fronting white musicians, something never really seen before in it's time. Not many in this world make the caliber of classics that she has sung, yet her intentional and notorious out-of-the-spotlight persona, directly cheated our ideas of fame, and with it all, she is still one of the most beloved, brilliant, and important crooners of all time.
Recently, the queen and her band, Sade (because remember, Sade is the actual band's name), released an anniversary box set which is a collection of the band's six studio albums. That's right ladies, Diamond Life (1984), Promise (1985), Stronger Than Pride (1988), Love Deluxe (1992), Lovers Rock (2000), and Soldier Of Love (2010) have all been remastered and compiled into a career-spanning vinyl box set complete with a very detailed, intricate remastering process (girl, stop all that screaming!)
This Farwas released on October 9 through Sony music, and arrives on the heels of the 10th anniversary of Solider of Love's initial release. And as its title hints, the collection marks a milestone, but also suggests there's more to come. #crossesfingers
We wanted to take a moment to list out each album included in This Far to discuss the impact, history, and our favorite Sade songs on that album. So, if you haven't already, grab that wine and throw on Sade, sis, because we're vibing in here today!
Diamond Life (1984)
When Diamond Life hit stores in July of 1984, it changed the landscape. The record blew open an already vibrant rhythm and blues scene in the UK, where the band is from, and helped to dominate it as capable of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its American counterparts. Further, Sade's rise to prominence cemented that a woman of color fronting a band of white male musicians, could be a persuasive platinum seller as much as any British music such as The Beatles, Sting, etc.
A 1985, New York Times article, and a sure reflection of the times, said about the album:
''Diamond Life'' has already sold just under a million copies in England (the equivalent of three million in the United States) and has spawned three international hits. The star of the group is a self-possessed 24-year-old singer-songwriter of Nigerian and British descent, named Sade Adu, who was born in Nigeria and brought up in the English coastal resort town of Clacton. Stunningly photogenic, Miss Adu possesses a dusky, haunting pop-jazz alto whose blase sensuality perfectly matches her sleek appearance. As an icon of a ''new pop elegance,'' Miss Adu already has the American fashion press stampeding after her."
With classics such as "Smooth Operator", "Cherry Pie", and "Your Love Is King", Diamond Life, has sold over 10+ million copies worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the era and the best-selling debut album by a British female vocalist ever, a record that has stood for over 24 years.
To date, Promise is probably the album that resonates with me most. The band's second studio album boasts Sade songs such as "Is it a Crime", "Sweetest Taboo", and "Jezebel", as its lead tracks, catapulting Sade into superstardom with one million copies sold in the US, and a certified quadruple platinum production by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Paired with Diamond Life, the two act as a real life soundtrack for melodic euphoria.
The album turns 35 in November of 2020 and still rages as one of the band's most impressive bodies of work.
Stronger Than Pride (1988)
Perhaps one of Sade's most recognizable albums, and my personal favorite—if there is a such thing when it comes to Sade—is their third studio album, Stronger Than Pride. Released in 1988, three years prior to a back-to-back reign, Stronger Than Pride houses cult favorites: "Keep Looking", "Paradise", and title track, "Love Is Stronger Than Pride". She sings, "I can't hate you, Although I have tried..."
A mooddddd. Listen, throw this one on, and you're bound to get lost, sis. Lost in a type of music that not many can promise to you these days.
To-date, Stronger Than Pride has sold over four million albums, and Pitchfork listed it as one of the top 200 albums of the 80's. Also, fun fact, Sade made her acting debut as Athene Duncannon in the 1986 British film, Absolute Beginners, as well as sung on the movie's accompanying soundtrack. Of the album, Sade said:
"One of the reasons the album is how it is because allowed to be and it was quite free it was allowed to be that way. And I was away from the media, I was away from any suppression from the record company. We were all sort of in our own little environment and I think, if anything, that comes through on the album."
Received with open arms, and during what was one of the more competitive years in music, it peaked at Number 7 on the Billboard 200.
Love Deluxe (1992)
Sade welcomed us into the 90's with Love Deluxe, the fourth studio album that housed Sade jams such as "No Ordinary Love", "Kiss of Life", and "Cherish the Day". Love Deluxe was released a full four years following Stronger than Pride, yetretained the band's classy and distinctive style. It was (and still is) seen by many as the band's best, a high-point in a career with many high-points. Although, Love Deluxe was less received and critically acclaimed of the prior three albums, it positioned the band in a more mainstream realm of music.
"No Ordinary Love" is the best known song, due to winning the 1994 Grammy for Best R&B performance, and was featured on the soundtrack of the 1993 movie, Indecent Proposal.
Love Deluxe was the only album the band release in the 90's. Following this album, Sade took a hiatus, where she had her first child, and the band's guitarist and saxophone player went on to develop the career of another R&B artist that you may know as...Maxwell.
Lover's Rock (2000)
It's been 20 years since this album was released but it's as sleek, refined, elegant and sultry as ever. Lovers Rock was released in November 2000, and it was titled after a style of reggae known as 'lovers rock'. All of Sade's music will have you grabbing bae, but the opening track, "By Your Side", will have you falling in love with him all over again.
Lovers Rock was met with mostly positive reviews, who praised the band's new sound. The album also earned Sade the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2002. Commercially, the album reached number three on the US Billboard 200, and has since been certified triple platinum, having sold 3.9 million copies in the US.
This album proved that Sade can wait as long as she damn pleases between albums and there will always be an audience waiting.
Soldier of Love (2010)
In the band's most recent body of work—and by "recent", I mean a decade ago—enters Soldier of Love. This album was their last, complete with a full 60-stop international tour. Soldier of Love has sold over three million copies and went to #1 in multiple countries. Entertainment Weekly featured Soldier of Love in their "Must List" and gave the album an "A", and Rolling Stone wrote "it's unimpeachably excellent."
The album went on to be nominated for multiple awards and gained various accolades. A high-performance work of art, in a world where we simply don't, and won't, know her next move. And I'm OK with that, ten years later.
But in the meantime, as we wait for what they have up their sleeves..."I'm a soldier of love. Every day and night."
Feature image courtesy of Sony Music/Sade
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood