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A few days ago, via Twitter, I offered a few notes on the aesthetic of 80s R&B groups."Shiny" was the buzz-word. Vaseline and jheri juice were primary components. But by the 90s, the processed aesthetic had given way to something different--the era of Black Love


Somewhere around 91-92, a style emerged--perhaps influenced by hip-hop--that featured the R&B singer in his natural idealized habitat. Out with the pleather and S-Curl. In with the Kinte Cloth hat and braids. More--in with the TMI. The era of Black Love gave us the gratuitous " love scenes of Boomerang and Jason's Lyric

I think a lot of this came from the fact that we hadn't enjoyed many chances to depict ourselves as sexy, on our terms.Or maybe, it's just about the fact that I haven't had my coffee yet.

Hmmm. 

Either way, this joint was on all of my high school slow-jam tapes. It's that rare cover that I actually like more than the original.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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