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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. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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