Black Women Are The Catalyst For Jay-Z’s Growth On 4:44

June 30, 2017  |  
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Last night, I was falling asleep to a movie when my sister announced that Jay-Z’s album 4:44 had dropped. Like I said, I was half sleep but even if I weren’t such news likely wouldn’t make me jump up and listen immediately. One, sleep is very important to me. And two, while I will always argue that me and my sisters’ lives were enriched when our father found The Black Album outside in the grass while he was walking our late dog, everything else from him since then hasn’t had the same effect on me.

But about an hour later, I hear like these repetitious, siren-like, almost wailing vocals. Even in my sleep, I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Who was hurt?

Still, I woke up slowly. I might have even drifted back to sleep. But then I started hearing lyrics in REM. And I asked myself, “Jay-Z’s mom is a lesbian?”


That was it. I shot off the floor (y’all I was sleeping on the floor) and asked my sister what was I hearing.

Her eyes got big, she shook her head from side to side and her only verbal response was “Girl.”

And in that moment, I knew that for at least the third time, in the past five years, one half of the Carter couple had changed the game…again.

Today, perhaps you’ll read a lot of headlines about Jay-Z spilling tea. And that’s certainly one way to look at it.

There is a lot of juicy information but more importantly, the album is about growth and development, from a man who has consistently– and is still referring to himself as the “god MC.” It’s an album about feuding within the Black family, within the Black community. It’s about support of Black business and a reminder to spend our money wisely, like wisely enough to actually be able to leave something to our children. It’s aspirational and inspirational for all of us to say the least.

But most importantly, to me, 4:44  edifies, apologizes to, acknowledges and uplifts Black women in a way we don’t often see in Hip Hop.

I tweeted last night.

We’ll discuss the role of Black women in various songs on the following pages.

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