Really interesting article about soul singer D’Angelo in GQ — dream sequences involving Marvin Gaye, good discussion of the sacred/profane roots of soul music, so you know it’s right up my alley.
Alyssa Rosenberg of Think Progress zeros in on the fact that D’Angelo started to lose it after his famous Untitled (How Does It Feel?) video made him a sex symbol:
But as D began to fall apart, the video would be the only thing many fans remembered. “The video was the line of demarcation,” says Harris. “It sent him spinning out of control.”…The trouble began right away, at the start of the Voodoo tour in L.A. “It was a week of warm-up gigs at House of Blues just to kick off the tour, draw some attention, break in the band,” says Alan Leeds, D’s tour manager then and now. “And from the beginning, it’s ‘Take it off!’ “…
D’Angelo felt tortured, Questlove says, by the pressure to give the audience what it wanted. Worried that he didn’t look as cut as he did in the video, he’d delay shows to do stomach crunches.
On the last day of the eight-month tour, Questlove says D’Angelo told him, “Yo, man, I cannot wait until this fucking tour is over. I’m going to go in the woods, drink some hooch, grow a beard, and get fat.” Questlove thought he was joking. “I was like, ‘You’re a funny guy.’ And then it started to happen. That’s how much he wanted to distance himself.”
Obviously, our society does this to women all the time. It’s sad.