During this time of quarantine, self reflection, and social distancing, we have heard so much pertaining to careers, unemployment, mental wellness, and keeping ourselves safe, in this hostile period. However, what is not being spoken of, or addressed as much, are the opportunities to strengthen romantic relationships.
Love! Being in love, and what happens when you have found the love of your ljfe. How do you sustain this love in the midst of a quarantine? Being away from their affection. Thinking about them, and finding that you need that person, more than ever. Realizing that you may have taken them for granted.
One of the beautiful opportunities, regarding this particular time, is that it provides the perfect opportunity to strengthen that love between you and a certain someone. Perhaps, it is a love, which has yet to be uncovered. Whether you are currently in a relationship with someone, or a romantic connection with someone, you have yet to meet. Perhaps, it is one, where you have a spiritual connection, with that individual. Then again, it could also be the scenario, where the person whose presence has captured your heart doesn’t even know that you exist. Not just, yet.
When a person is alone and in a place of silence and solitude, there is ample time for deep thought. When it comes to love, and romantic relationships, there comes a time of inner reflection. That moment, where you truly understand the meaning of a soul mate. That reality of feeling what it means to need another human being. There are songs, which attest to this need. It is beautiful when sung by a woman. Yet, when sung by men, there is a particular essence about it. A healing aura, where a man shatters societal expectations, surrounding his existence. This notion of hiding his feelings, or not wanting to show weakness. Presenting a “hard” facade, in order to mask his fears. Whether that be to the world, or the woman he loves. There comes a time, where you get those songs, that really go there. And, what a treasure they are, when you hear them.
One of those such treasures is “Purple Emoji,” by Ty Dolla Sign, featuring J. Cole. Yes! The worlds of Hip Hop and R&B, too, create musical therapies for intimacy and healing. The song is a poetic diary. Only this time it doesn’t stay inside of a manuscript. It is sung aloud. Think of man being by himself, professing to the feminine Being of his choosing. She is not there. Yet, she hears him. She listens to him because it is a side of him she has never heard before. That’s one scenario. Then there is a part of him feeling there is a particular Being, who is meant to be, for him. Though he hasn’t met her, or knows of her, his emotional psyche let’s him know that she is out there. Thinking of him and dreaming of him to think of her, too.
Listening to the song, one hears that repetition, “I need you, more than ever. I know that I’m in trouble.” The texture and tonality in Ty Dolla Sign brings out the richness of the text. Alas! The facade is thrown out, and he speaks out the truth, in what he really feels and needs. Its poetic! Its beautiful! Its love! Ty Dolla Sign’s poetic nature and artistry articulates the desperation in the song. A man who is willing to do anything to save a healthy, nurturing, life-sustaining relationship. Making it work with the right woman, and doing whatever is in his power to hold onto her. Doing what he has to do to seek her, gain her, and hold onto her.
The words, “I need you, more than ever. I know that I’m in trouble” are so precious. And yet, there is more. Words that capture a release of the ego. Knowing that love and relationships are about compromise, intimacy, communication, and honesty. Just listen to the beauty of balance, truth telling, and harmony in the first verse of the lyrics. The cry out for help, and admitting of being in a place, where he doesn’t want to be. Valuing woman enough to know that her presence is life sustaining.
“You know I need you, baby So much on my mind, I ain’t even really sleepin’ lately I said some things I didn’t mean, I know I did too much What’s love if we can’t get into it, turn around and make up? You kept it solid from beginning, baby, you my day one You caught me in a lie, looked back up at you like I’m dumb I had to make you my girl, you ain’t afraid to speak up No matter where we are, who it is, you still gon’ tee up Go through withdrawals when we apart, get back together, re-up You stayed ten toes down, now you can kick your feet up I had to boss you up, I had to level up myself I did some growin’ up, I’m doin’ better for myself But, I still need you”
Just reading the poetry of this song, one is experiencing this awakening to reality. At that time, it doesn’t feel pleasant. Yet, can you just imagine, during these current times, many men, who are living this reality? Being away from their true love. Yet, given the opportunity to reflect on wrongdoings, neglect, and not truly being there in the relationship. Now, that they want to be there, they can’t. The current circumstances have forced a separation. The current corona epidemic is not just keeping a person away from work. Its also keeping one from. . .love. Throughout the very poetry of this verse, one hears the underlying message that healthy relationships require. . .honesty. It requires acknowledgement. And, furthermore, it requires growth. For a man to articulate it, as beautifully, in the way that Ty Dolla Sign has, is more than poetic. Its nurturing. Its a therapy. Knowing that man has understood a holistic approach in connecting to woman, is relieving. You can feel a silent sigh from the receiving end. From those women, who have truly wanted the men in their lives to get it. Its ironic that it took these current, international circumstances for such to happen. Nevertheless, it has happened. And, that’s ok. Sometimes, it takes extremities in order for one to see the importance of love. So many people who overwork and have never experienced. . .love.
One of the other beautiful attributes of the video, and the song, is how the protagonist’s eyes are revealed. The close-ups of his face. Symbolic of having removed any masks he may have worn, in order to hide his true feelings. Ty Dolla Sign reveals his very Soul. Again, his willingness to be vulnerable. For men to remove any masks is healing to their very psyche. It means that speaking honestly, and being vulnerable, does not emasculate them. In fact, its one of the epitomes of manhood. This is especially true for Black American men, and the hyper-masculinity, associated with it. This stereotype of Black American men portrayed as void of emotion, sensitivities, and humanity. The lyrics and visual artistry of this song restores healthy images of their masculinity and humanity. Its precious. Its beautiful. Its Divine!
In our final reflection of the song, it is very important to highlight, the name. The name alone is very imperative. Much of it being that it invokes the color. . .purple. The color purple is one of movement and our connection to that Universal energy. It is one color of balance. It recognizes a harmonical twist between Earth and that Spiritual realm of emotional stability.
What is aesthetically pleasing about this song is how it intertwines the principal of harmony to relationships. Applying the theme of balance to love! Again, there is this surrender from the masculine point of view. A recognition in not knowing everything. With both hands open, he comes to the feminine Being in order to give himself to her. Recognizing that he needs stability. That through harmony, he is safe. Confessing his fears and the realness of his connection to her, his scars become healed. And, he is able to experience a true ecstasy of, peace! Now, that’s real love.
As lovers, and those in intimate relationships, are separated from each other, this period allows healing to take place. Being away from one’s romantic partner for so long forces one to long for them more. And with so much pain happening all around us, being in isolation is causing many people to think about love, and their desire to be loved (if they are not currently in a relationship; in an authentic one, or in an unhappy one).
So, as we continue to reflect on the current times, let’s celebrate the songs, which keeps us thinking on what really matters in life. Those songs, like “Purple Emoji,” which can invoke powerful feelings-THE TRUTH-about how we really feel when we are alone. When natural causes force us to be, by ourselves, for renewal. That way, when all of this is over, we can build (or enrich) more loving, romantic relationships, with our partners. Or conclude those, which have served their purpose. Either way, when this current epidemic is done, we will have found our purple coloring, with a smiling face.