One of the most auspicious delights regarding R&B songstress, actress, and dancer, Aaliyah is how she highlighted the maidenal, femininity, and cultural pleasantries of Black American womanhood and identity.
We will never forget the feminine, and nutritious essence of the late R&B songstress, and actress, Aaliyah. What she gave to the world of R&B, and how she used her artistry to present the femininity of Black American maidens, is one of her signature traits. In the early stages of her career, we were introduced into how she defied gender constrictions in Black America’s urban wear. Presenting the aesthetics of her urban demographic, Aaliyah showcased to the mainstream gaze, how beautiful this category of our people, truly is. Through her style, baggy pants obtained a more feminine charm. Through her gaze, urban sectors were not one of impoverishment. On the contrary, there is a feminine charm of mystery, beauty, and peculiarity, which is present in Black America’s urban environment.
One of the auspicious delights regarding Aaliyah, is that she performed this energy within different sceneries. She embodied the power of one area of Black American culture and music (in this case R&B and the urban atmosphere), to adapt into different landscapes and atmospheres. Showcasing the power of its Universal appeal. One particular song, and video, is “Rock the Boat!”
Observing the video, viewers are given a taste into the nourishing of Black America’s maidenal image, through the element of water. These waters are clearly not of her own landscape and design. Nevertheless, their music has led them here. Illuminating their femininity, and dances with water’s gaze until their bodies have acclimated themselves to that particular rhythm and beat. Adjusting that R&B sound to a land not of their own. A land with another cultural, feminine presence, of Bahamian shores. Nevertheless, they have traveled to experience themselves, and performing their culture, near it, and within.
In “Rock the Boat,” there is a beautiful dance scene, where Aaliyah and other women are dressed in white. The choreography is so intricate, you can imagine the waters dancing. In fact, it appears to embody the very designs, patterns, and movements of waters’ dances. Together the women are performing the feminine element of water. This time it is done with a feminine twist, as Black American women perform their musical format, within foreign terrain.
Another magical scene, is where the women are dressed in white tops, with denim, tie-dye shorts. Technical creativity gives them the illusion of being in ocean’s haven. Beautiful, decorative, jeweled, sparkling, and sacred. Blending urban attire into a space, and place, of enchantment.
A different part of the video, highlights Aaliyah as dressed in “island attire.” Clearly, the songstress is the narrator of this storybook fable. Nevertheless, her attire highlights a hidden fact of her Jamaican roots. That part of her came from her father’s side. Interesting enough, she is camouflaging herself, in the way of the women of that land. It’s another telling regarding, how Black American women adorn ourselves in the style of the lands, in which our music and culture directs us to. Let’s also not forget another particular attire, in the video, where Aaliyah has blended a portion of Black American urban wear, with Jamaican, dancehall- themed attire. Of course, you are able to recognize it. She moves herself through Caribbean landscapes, as the mystery of the Bahamian sunset brings a conclusion to an unraveled story-within the context of our very gaze. In addition, viewers are too invited in learning about the women and men, of this land.
One other segment, within the video, deserves recognition. That scene highlights and summons the spiritual haven of this entire video. In this scene, the Black American maiden is submerged within the very depths of water. Floating, releasing, and embodying a graceful presence within water, she demonstrates how natural it is for her very Being. Hair is flowing gracefully, as the waters of these distant lands cradle her. Twirling her around, and envisioning her as the fruit of those ancestral maidens, mothers, and fathers, who succumbed to the ocean, by force or willingly. Those taken in slave ships, yet never reaching the next distant land. Isn’t it magical how time works? Just imagine these particular maidens, of Black American soiling, returning to those middle waters. That centered point for those maidens, who never made it. Yet, only this time, you can align with these waters, in a living state. This time you celebrate with your Sisters, and honor those maidens before. Illuminating to them that you did indeed survive! That because you overcame, you carry their memory, with you! This time, it’s a different immersion with the waters. One that celebrates life, and the beauty which had been created in a foreign land.
The midnight colored dress, worn by Aaliyah, as she is submerged in water, gracefully intertwines herself with the waters. There is a level of euphoria, and a security, which surrounds her. In these waters, she is safe! Beauty surrounds her. Wearing darkness’ coloring, life is illuminated. Looking at the camera, Aaliyah creates intimacy through water’s gaze. Everything is fine, and these waters are silkened. They are aesthetically comforting. Whatever toxicities, or fragmentations, which happened in distant lands, have been watered away, and healed.
“Rock the Boat” is one of Aaliyah’s most beautiful and sacred projects in the digital world. A talented singer, actress, and dancer, who unapologetically displayed the beauty, and feminine artistry, of Black American womanhood. This is especially true for the young maidens of our communities, and culture. Therefore, let’s continue to celebrate her legacy. After all, she watered our Being. It’s only fair that we continue to grow flowers for her.
To watch the video, you can click on the link, below:
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