All Articles Tagged "El DeBarge"
The Light Skin, Curly Hair, And A Falsetto Era: Remember In The Early ’80s When Every Male Singer Looked And Sounded The Same?
I swear I watch old videos on YouTube just to humble myself. No way should we young old-heads be throwing shade at the young’ns for their taste in music and fashion without first explaining Al B. Sure.
Don’t get it twisted; throw on an old school Al B. track on and I’ll be the first one up, waving my hands, singing along off-key to, “Do you wanna, Res-cue Meeee…” But trust and belief, I won’t be the only one off-key, because in spite of how pretty he is, dude couldn’t sing. In the words of Trinidad James, don’t believe me just watch – this YouTube video of him performing live (in the 80s) on an episode of Showtime at the Apollo. Notice the false falsetto, the pithiness, and the cheeky dance moves to hide the fact that he could not sing. I mean, we do realize that there were probably a few poor saps during that same episode of Apollo, who were booed and escorted off the amateur night stage by Sandman Sims who sounded better than Al B did in this clip? I know whoever they were, they probably took that train back to Brooklyn pissed.
Word is that Al B. turned down a college scholarship to pursue a musical career and it was the great music mogul, Quincy Jones, who facilitated him getting a record deal through Warner Brothers. What I haven’t heard though, is what the heck was Jones and the Warner Brothers executives smoking, because that boy couldn’t sing. I have joked about this before on my Facebook page, but after watching this clip of his non-singing behind gyrating across the stage in tight, cut-up, stonewashed jeans, I am more convinced that the only reason why Al B. Sure ever got on was because he was light-skinned with curly hair, and girls wanted to have a baby by him. If not, please, explain to me some other rationale for how this dude got a record contract.
Oh no, she’s not starting the light-skinned talk is she? Oh yes I am, because it’s Friday and folks need to lighten up. But in all half-seriousness, Al B. Sure arrived on the scene at a time when male R&B singers were keen to what had been traditional, and stereotypical, light-skinned attributes: I’m talking silky black curly hair, soft Café au lait skin tones and delicate voices. This is the period where Lionel Richie decided to trade in The Commodores and the Afro for a Jheri Curl and a blind girl with a miraculous gift of making exact replica busts of people just from touching their faces. Or if you will note on the Michael Jackson hair evolutionary chart, this era is best known as the time between the Thriller curl years and the Dangerous wave nouveau years.
By most accounts, Prince blazed the trails for these particular pretty men to come in and take their rightful place in black music. It wasn’t that light-skinned dudes weren’t in music before, or that they were unwelcome, but Prince made looking light-skinned and feminine/androgynous hot. He also gave us Morris Day and the Time, who not only carried on the tradition, but also gave us, for the first time, some light-skinned bravado, which came complete with a perm and a pinky ring. This new view of lighter complected stars helped to usher in the DeBarge Family, which was literally an entire squad of light-skinned, curly haired men (and their sister) with soft voices. They were basically burning up the charts with such classics as “I Like” and “All This Love.” But they were also burning up the ladies (and some men), who couldn’t get enough of their Farrah Fawcett tresses.
The success of Prince, Morris Day and The Time, and the DeBarges brought about a second, more pronounced wave of Team Light-Skinned singers, including notable talents like Howard Hewett (after leaving Shalamar to take full advantage of the light-skinned tide), Georgio (“Lovers Lane”), Colonel Abrams (“Trapped”), Sherrick (“Just Call”), Lillo Thomas (“I Want to Make Love”), James Ingram, Rockwell (“Somebody’s Watching Me”), and Gregory Abbott (“Shake You Down”), just to name a few. Soon, non-light skinned singers couldn’t deny the influence of their counterparts and tried their best to emulate either their style, as demonstrated by Luther Vandross’ Jheri Curl, or their voices, as demonstrated by the group Switch, whose lead singer, on occasion, bares a striking vocal resemblance to Beyoncé.
For a while there it looked like there would be no stopping the Team Light-Skinned dominance in R&B music. However, this era of music would soon meet its tragic end, thanks in part to the rise of scowling and sneering bad boys of Hip-Hop…and Wesley Snipes, whose dark hand figuratively and literally, drove a nail through the light-skinned coffin when he stabbed Christoper Williams in New Jack City. Although they tried desperately to hang on with artists like Tony Terry and groups like Color Me Badd, their light-skinned powers could not stop the force that was Bobby Brown from taking “Every Little Step” up the charts and dominating the latter years.
Today, Team Light-Skinned finds itself trying to rebuild its empire and will occasionally shine with star players like the members of the DeBarge family trying to make a comeback, who gave us their younger, more thugg-nificent sibling Chico. And there is no denying that Miguel has managed to bring some of that curly-haired soul music back to the scene. But the squad still has yet to regain the momentum that was lost because of the Chris Brown years. And there is no telling who, if anyone, can restore them to their former glory. Perhaps the DeBarge family has another member ready to slick down his baby hair and step on the scene…
After canceling a comeback tour and going to rehab last year to get help for a substance abuse problem, it seems that singer El Debarge is still battling with drugs. The 51-year-old had done a two-year stint in prison for a previous drug possession arrest, and he was just arrested again on Monday, this time on suspicion of drug possession with intent to sell, in the Encino neighborhood. According to the Los Angeles Times, undercover narcotics officers conducting an investigation saw the singer and another man on the street acting “suspiciously.” I’m really tired of that word…
Anyway, after noticing them, the officers found drugs where the singer had been standing. The man with him was busted for attempted drug possession, while El was arrested for attempting to sell drugs. DeBarge posted a bail of $30,000. His attorney though, told the Los Angeles Times that he was skeptical about the charge, especially since he knows El’s past issues with drug abuse–not the sale of it. He issued the following statement:
“The DeBarge family is very close knit and have had their struggles with substance abuse. They will do what they always have done, which is to support their sibling through this.”
Man, their family is really going through it these days (James is actually in jail with Conrad Murray of all people). Let’s hope he’ll get through this and get help again.
More on Madame Noire!
- That’s My Cousin! Famous Black Celebrities Who Are Related
- Why I’m Concerned about Lala and Her Fake Full Court Life
- Before the Money, Honey: Women Who Stood By Their Men Before and After the Fame
- Where Are They Now? The Cast of “A Different World”
- Confessions of a Loud Black Woman
- Is He Dating Other People? 7 Signs You’re One Of Many
- Trayvon Martin, His Witness and What We Should Be Teaching Our Children About Racism
- Should Black Folks Feel Obligated To Speak To Each Other?
The recent passing of British soul singer Amy Winehouse came as a shock to me. Not because I was naive to her problems but because I just always assumed she’d get better before it was too late. When it comes to some artists we just can’t help but wish them the best. Maybe because they left some profound impact on our lives or because we remember what they once were or used to be.
After weeks of speculation, Black Voices has confirmed that El DeBarge has checked himself back into rehab. Geffen Records released a statement from the artist:
“I hate to disappoint my fans but it is necessary for me to take the time to work on me so that I may continue to share my music and my story with everyone. I thank everyone in advance for their prayers and well wishes and hope that you will respect my privacy during this time,” stated DeBarge.
For the rest of the story and the artist who helped him get back into recovery, click here.
Second chances come a dime a dozen. Life teaches us that learning from our mistakes is the next chapter toward rebuilding our lives. In some cases, it doesn’t. But if the going gets tough, there should be hope at the end of the tunnel. One artist who has traveled through that fiery tunnel is R&B musician, El Debarge. Now smoother and sexier than ever, the comeback singer refreshes us with a new album in store titled “Second Chance” which marks his personal and professional trails. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Rumors are finally being laid to rest about the newest songs from R&B diva, Mary J. Blige, who has been coy on whether or not she will release another studio album.
The BET Awards is usually one big game of charades. Full of impromptu performances, mic flaws and throwback singers (yes, El Debarge was in the house!) we always sit at the edge of couches in anticipation of the next surprise. This year was no different with the award show and fashion choices.
Maybe it has to do with the invitations Viacom sends out, but MTV and BET award shows always have a diverse range of fashion. Some are dolled up like they’re going to a formal occasion, while others dress like they’re about to hit the gym. It doesn’t bother us though… just another reason to shamelessly talk about people’s odd sense of style.
Here we go…
Michael Jackson finally got a tribute at the 10th annual BET awards with a teary performance from Chris Brown. The night, hosted by Queen Latifah, also included comeback performances from Kanye West, T.I. and El DeBarge.
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »