In 1974, Shirley Brown released “Woman to Woman.” In this chart-topping ballad, Brown decides to go through her ‘old man’s pockets’ and finds a number belonging to another woman name Barbara.
Shirley calls Barbara warning:
“The man your in love with, he’s mine.
From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet.
The bed he sleeps in and every piece of food he eats.”
Shirley goes on to give Barbara whose response we never get to hear, a woman-to-woman lyrical manifesto on keeping a man and never holding him accountable of infidelities.
Thirty-six years later, Monica returns with her sixth studio effort, “Still Standing” available in stores today. Since 95′, Monica like Shirley Brown has presented her female listeners with songs they can relate to, from “Don’t Take it Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” to “So Gone.” Partnering with long time producer Missy Elliott, Monica offers a fascinating track, “Blackberry.” Easily a 21st century version of ‘Woman to Woman’, instead of going through her man’s pockets, Monica checks his Blackberry.
“Get your hands off my man.
Girl you already know.
He’s signed, sealed, delivered, he belongs to me.
And I show up at your front door, sure will.”
Although Monica later switches the attention to her man singing, “I knew better, knew right out of the gate and I ain’t playing your fool,” she spends a large portion of the song devoted to another female demanding she leaves her man alone.
This concurrent effort of blaming the woman and checking the man is a chronically backward practice women employ off wax everyday.
Unfortunately, Monica’s personal life with former fiancee, Rocko has played out in public space. Several gossip sites have reported in addition to Monica’s tweeting that the long-time couple have split. It is rumored that the couple’s decision to part ways is due to Rocko’s cheating. We have also publicly witnessed the “woman-to-woman” example of Mashonda, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. In an “open letter” addressed to Alicia Keys via Twitter, Mashonda writes what many have considered an accusatory statement, blaming Alicia Keys for her failed marriage.
Have you ever received that evening call from another female reluctantly integrating you into a couple’s dispute you had nothing to do with? Now, there are loads of women who knowingly become involve with taken men, but there is a sizable populous of women who are unaware another woman exists.
There is something easy about the exclusive emotional-responsiveness of indicting a distant stranger rather than the emotional work it takes to demand our partners be faithful. Perhaps this is a woman’s way of distracting the affair to regain her man’s focus. But a distraction is merely an impermanent action. His next transgression is only a matter of time.
Pop culture’s endorsement of this legendary practice is no help to Black female and male relationships. But these songs of love gone wrong reflect real life. The music never lies.