I remember getting Me’shell Ndegecello’s first album from an A&R friend of mine on a tape cassette. It was just the studio copy. It wasn’t mixed and wasn’t slated for stores yet. But it was complete magic! So raw, exciting and amazing, I just kept listening to it over and over again. The bass line, the voice…the words. That was Plantation Lullabies which to me is still one of her best albums. The voice, the music and the words were one thing, but then there was this woman, singing about queers and black folks and woman in such a gritty personal way. The way you talk to your sister, girlfriend, best friend. For me it was the first time I’d ever heard anything like it.
Me’Shell was different and wonderful and just what the world needed. Listening to her made me feel a way I had never felt before about my androgyny – the masculine and feminine of me. All of these were mixed in like gumbo in her music; the bass, the butch, the woman, and the child. Her delivery of it all was always in a ‘don’t give a sh$% what you may think about it’ way.
Her style is one that has often embraced freely both the feminine and the masculine though recently she seems to be settling into her more Dandi masculine side.
I could go on and on about her and I could take up several posts listing all of my favorite songs though it would be easier to list the few that I don‘t quite love. Me’Shell has taken us all to places we‘ve never been or places we are afraid to admit about ourselves. And, joyously, she has just released another album “Weather” (love the name!) Some say it shows signs of her mellowing. I say it shows signs of a true and visionary artist who I have loved since the beginning of her career. The world may be looking for a comfort woman but she is just not interested in doing what is expected.
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