Have you been up on your Ps and Qs lately? There seems to be a resurgence of the artistic nude these days in the world of music. Over the past several weeks, I have been blessed with at least three videos that’s all flirting with nudity as its simplistic, yet effective concept. Blame it on D’Angelo. Before he fell squarely off the face of the Earth, he started it with that deliciously enticing ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel?) video back in 2000. Dang, has it really been that long? I recall the first time I saw the video, I don’t think I blinked or breathed until it faded to black. Then, I just sighed a lot and wondered when was I going to see it again---like I had been ‘one-nighted’ by a dude I was digging. Yes, this was before the days of Youtube, so one had to actually sit down and watch BET and wait on the video. Lord, how did we make it back then?
D’s video was an instant classic and he immediately became an even hotter version of sex symbol, D’Angelo 2.0, if you will. He had already set the scene off by showing the world that it was cool to croon with cornrows; making him the prototypical ‘thug balladeer’ as Cedric the Entertainer teased one time. This made life a lot easier for others like Lyfe Jennings and Jaheim. At that time, the marketing vehicle of the music video was losing its aesthetic quality because they had become flashier, louder, and more intrusive. With no real attempt at constructing a solid concept, they all became one big parade of flinging body parts and overly hyped up court jesters. While the song could have been pure crap, it still sold well because of the hot video, which major labels began relying heavily.
Well….D’s video dismissed that standard and featured him slowly rotating in front of the camera ‘bucket nekkid’ (or so it seemed) with close ups on his rippling muscles and full lips.
Excuse me…I need a moment…..
So…..yeah, D is the most recent one that I can think of who started this whole business of being butt naked in the video, uhh, from an artistic perspective. Interestingly enough, not much has changed with music videos, so apparently, there is still a need to scale everything down, so to speak, and just stand up there and sing the song with no clothes on. On that note, go ahead and check out these three videos from some up and coming R&B/Soul/Neo Soul artists and see the D’Angelo Effect in action.
Nakia Henry – Love Letter (He Wants Me to Win)
Timothy Bloom – ‘Til the End of Time ft. V
The Floacist – Let Me
Now, we all know that this is an attention-grabber, but is everyone really getting it? Did you notice that I referred to this style of nudity as artistic? Given the adage, ‘sex sells’, are these artists truly selling sex or are they doing something deeper? If the latter, what is the difference?