Lion Babe – Begin review

Lion Babe - press photo 2015, 3, by Misha Taylor (1920x1080)In the words of director and artist Simon Frederick: “Black is the new black”. And few things this year have brought delight, joy and open-mouthed awe to me than the sight of black sisters rocking natural curls with pride. Alicia Keys, Solange, Corinne Bailey Rae, Fleur East, Nao and Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, to name but a few of the music world’s natural hair heroes.

But what has hair got to do with music – and Lion Babe specifically? More than you’d think. Hair is an express of the self. And anyone who knows what it’s like maintaining an afro, day in, day out, will tell you that – just ask Erykah Badu, India.Arie or Solange. Jillian Hervey, Lion Babe’s majestic frontwoman, wears a mane of golden curls that look as though they were a gift from the goddess Oshun herself.

Hervey’s natural hair journey – as well as the fact she is the daughter of singer and actress, Vanessa Williams – brought her face to face with taunts, teases and pressure for her to conform to her attacker’s standards of beauty. But, as she told Glamour magazine earlier this year, returning to natural hair led her to feel “very comfortable in my skin and really confident about who I was”. The Lion Babe of today could not exist without this comfortable, confident brown-skinned wonder woman. Continue reading

Lions, tygers & bears

Jazmine Sullivan, 2008, J Records press photo 01 (975x548)Impulse. That’s what got me to buy Jazmine Sullivan’s debut album, Fearless, and it’s also the reason I wrote this post when I did. I’m not one to follow the music industry closely at all. In fact, the very idea of zealously buying singles from the so-called ‘pop music’ top ten just sickens me. That’s not to say that there aren’t many good artists around nowadays, it’s just that image and mass appeal has become so much of a factor in today’s music industry that I find it extremely hard to encourage myself to trawl through the endlessly unoriginal rehashes just to find the ‘good’ stuff. The phrase ‘style over substance’ has never been more fitting. Continue reading