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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Gaither

Jazmine Sullivan Invites Further Freedom and Power on "Heaux Tales, Mo' Tales: The Deluxe"

If you thought the Heaux Tales were over, you thought wrong! With the deluxe release of her highly acclaimed project, Heaux Tales, Ms. Jazmine Sullivan is back with more revelation, truth, and of course... tales.

Released on Friday (Feb. 11), Heaux Tales, Mo' Tales picks up where Jazmine left listeners and invites some new friends to dive into their own truths along with Sullivan's own candid, personal self-reflection. With the five new tales also comes five brand new ground-shaking bonus songs that further propel authenticity, sexuality, and empowerment.

The deluxe's tone is set with Issa Rae's comical yet utterly truthful tale. Narrated by Rae herself, she tells her story of a love cut short due to her partner's career aspirations. With a new job across the country, both Rae and her partner understand that the relationship won't ultimately thrive. Because of this, she plans to "go out with a bang," and have the best, most passionate sex of her life. Unfortunately, this anti-climatic "bang" lasts for about three pumps and ends with her humorous confession of cheating on her partner. Immediately from there, the first track, "Tragic" begins. Incorporating Congresswoman Maxine Waters' renowned "Reclaiming my time" phrase, Sullivan uses the lead single to reinforce Issa's feelings of having her time wasted by a lover. From lackluster bedroom performance to the lack of any type of consideration for her, Sullivan is fed up. She uses her hearty, moving vocals to unapologetically seize back her time and power.

As the journey continues, listeners are greeted with Jazmine's very own tale. In "Jazzy's Tale," Sullivan lets down her guard as she speaks to seeking love and validation as not only a black woman but a heavier black woman. She speaks about chasing the idea of the very love Sullivan witnessed with her parents and fighting loneliness. Because of these various elements, Sullivan finds herself dealing with men and situations that she is far greater than but because of her insecurities, she allowed herself to be hurt and stay inside of a dead partnership in order to feel what she initially thought was love. From that revelation, Jazmine takes us to church on the heartfelt "Hurt Me Good."

As the organ begins and the background vocals set ablaze, Sullivan's heart gushes out onto the wax as she sings about being with someone who truly does not comprehend love. Entrapped within her emotions she fights internally with leaving someone she knows essentially is not good for her in any aspect of her life. She sings about losing herself to stay within this toxic relationship. Asking for strength, she pleads with herself (and God) to give her the boldness to take a stand and flee from this venomous situation.

The Heaux Tales Deluxe allows the fellas to be both seen and heard as well. For example, in "A Breaux's Tale," Sullivan switches the perspective and allows a man to share his own truth. In this story, he finds himself falling in love with this woman to the point he starts to mature and lets his guards drop. He gives up his lineup of women for her and even behaves in such a way that is foreign to him. When he finally shares his true feeling for her, she embarrasses him by pulling him, on him. The boiling tale leads to the next track, "Roster."

Taking inspiration from the previous tale, Sullivan sings about maintaining her roster. Despite her feelings, she urges herself to not catch feelings. She reminds herself that she's young, in her prime, and not stupid. Because of that, she refuses to drop everything for her prospect. Instead, she recruits him to her own roster of guys. The song reverses the societal roles of men and women and casts Sullivan as the player rather than being played.

The theme of sexuality intensifies in "Mona's Tale," where Mona proclaims the very goodness within her cooter cat. Raw, spiritual, and relatable to many women around the world, she takes ownership and pride in her sexual prowess. Deeming her lower face the undisputed champion, Mona sets the tone for the next track, "BPW." "BPW" scores the game-winning touchdown that "Mona's Tale" throws. Smooth, sultry, and sensual, Jazmine flawlessly delivers on this slow-burner. Jazmine breathes in Mona's confidence as she reminds her unofficial partner that nothing about her is regular and that she absolutely has the "best p*ssy in the world." Like sweet nectar, she unleashes this sacred proverb that women will devour for years following the song's release.

The deluxe's final tale, "Shanti's Tale" is sincere as she speaks on losing herself in a budding relationship. While trying to keep her life under control and prioritize, her partner, while bringing her humor and playfulness was unable to accept her completely flaws and all. Instead of taking both the good and bad, he decided to select what he deemed desirable. Ultimately this led to Shanti revoking her accessibility and removing this person from her life.

Much like the entirety of the album, Jazmine utilizes these various tales as a source of inspiration for her music within this new era. As Shanti's Tale ends, listeners are presented with the deluxe's final song, "Selfish" where Jazmine airs out basically all self-centered, egotistical, cold men who think their sh*t don't stink. Fed up with the antics and disrespect, she refuses to fall for the lies and "bullsh*t" anymore. She calls out these men and their controlling manipulative ways. Her voice blazes throughout the record like a trumpet as she lists every red flag with these strange fellas. The acoustic energy mimics that seen within Sullivan and H.E.R.'s "Girl Like Me," and reciprocates that same fiery passion felt within that track.

Heaux Tales, Mo' Tales further propels the narrative liberation, authenticity, and grace. While everyone's tale is not pretty, it is their truth to carry. The project allows for healing, growth, and maturation. Instead of using these stories to judge or shame, Jazmine uses them to highlight the very beauty of the human experience, primarily that of the black woman. It is not always pretty but Sullivan shines when she allows her as well as others' flaws to breathe. Instead of denying them and sweeping them under the rug, she pulls back the curtain on every fault, insecurity, and error made which ultimately gives her sheer strength. She takes back her power and reclaims her own narrative with utter authority.

Heaux Tales is not a bitter black woman album, it's a celebration of life, love, sex, and growth. The project definitely is one of Sullivan's absolute best (yet) and reminds everyone that Jazmine Sullivan is walking, living, breathing art. With "The Heaux Tales Tour" finally amongst us, it's safe to say the world is Jazmine Sullivan's for the taking and she is definitely just heating up.

Stream Jazmine Sullivan's Heaux Tales, Mo' Tales: The Deluxe below.

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