Thanks! I’m gonna answer in two parts…
1. On surface level, the song is about the time I fell in love with a boy who lived in south LA. On one hand he was a complex individual, trying to navigate his way out of generational poverty through being a first gen college student. On the other, he had several stereotypical characteristics because of the environment in which he grew up. I was constantly conflicted about whether I was truly seeing him as a whole human being, or whether I was objectifying him by choosing to focus on the things that were “easier” to comprehend. Those “easy” ideas simply fit into my preconceived ideas about working class black masculinity shaped by “stories heard in songs and seen on evening news”. This was interesting to me because feminism often talks about how women are objectified, but hardly addresses the ways in which black men are objectified and sexualized. I found myself being a perpetrator of this.
Furthermore, the song is about acknowledging my own prejudice and privilege. As “enlightened” as I am, I am not immune to judging people. As much as I try to fight it, my own privilege often clouds my perception of the world and impedes me from humanizing others. Although I feel closely connected to many parts of the black community and all of its diversity, coming from a middle class background causes me to struggle with acknowledging my own privilege and actively resisting thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate classism.
The song is an attempt to humanize him. To explore his contradictions, his individual struggle, and how I feel about him. There is also an element of knowing that I too am being objectified by him. We both are “looking for a body, not a soul.” However, we can never break down those barriers and work towards humanizing others if we cannot honestly look at our own privileges (… and we all have some privilege).
2. Since we’re on the subject of privilege, both of my parents have advanced degrees and are relatively progressive people. I grew up in a house full of books about black power, ancient Egyptian contributions to civilization, great female leaders, and posters of Malcolm X/Bob Marley. While I only took a small interest in these things as a kid, this foundation really helped once I got to college and began formally studying institutions of oppression. My parents are also deeply spiritual, so I’ve spent my entire life exploring my internal world, trying to find some kind of meaning in life, and learning how to become intrinsically fulfilled/happy. I definitely was a lucky kid.
I don’t think that’s weird… I feel like that about people often.
Thanks for being so supportive over the years and now. I’m glad we can enjoy this build up together :) Project is coming before the end of Spring.