Marsha Ambrosius ‘Far Away’ Video Takes On Homophobic Violence

The Black twitter and blog world have been abuzz with the release of Fly Away, the 2nd single and new video from former Floetry vocalist Marsha Ambrosius. The video is getting a lot of buzz because it is the first video from a major-label R&B/Soul artist since (as far as I can remember) Me’Shell NdegeOcello’s Levitivus: Faggot to really portray black gay men in a sympathetic light.

While I wish I didn’t have to see us die tragically on film, the fact is, some of us do, and I am struck by the fact that the video shows the impact of homophobia on a Black gay man’s life, the direct ways it plays out in the Black community, and his ultimate suicide (based on a real-life friend of Ambrosius).¬† I have had to personally deal with a number of the kinds of scrutiny, looks and words of disgust from Black homophobes–especially when I am with other Black gay men, whether we’re actually dating or not. But what is more emotionally moving to me is the way the video shows the relationship between the two black gay men, which we almost never see never see in pop culture, save Noah’s Arc (despite having a black gay man on most of the Housewife reality shows, Top Model or a number of fashion makeover shows, they are detached from any real relationships to Black gay community-they exist on these shows in total isolation to the rest of us). I really cried watching this video just from seeing the relationship between the two men.¬† I also appreciate the love relationship between Ambrosius and the couple in the video–albeit brief. If I had to base our value on pop culture (or even what happens in the community often) if we’re not doing your hair/makeup or singing in your God’s choir, our lives don’t matter.

It’s also a beautiful song–I just bought it to support this artist. Thank you, Ms. Ambrosius.

Marsha Ambrosius: From Floetry Songstress to Gangsta Girl?

Searching the internet for news on the upcoming solo album from former Floetry singer Marsha Ambrosius, I came across a free downloadable mixtape her label, Dr. Dre’s Aftermath, produced as a way to do an underground promotion of her in anticipation of the release of the full recording. The mixtape is called Neo-Soul Is Dead, released in November 2007, and much of the disc is retread of famous Dr. Dre beats, mostly from The Chronic.

It’s fine to declare Neo-Soul to be dead, Erykah Badu did that about 5 years ago. But it’s quite another thing to all of a sudden become this gangstress singing to the beat of Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit” about how “all you bitches don’t mean shit to me” when you were giving us some of the most beautful R & B love songs recorded in this generation! You would hardly recognize the vocalist from “It’s Getting Late” and “Like A Bird” with songs like “Grind You Up” and “You’s a Beeyatch!!!”

I’m all for artists growing in new directions musically–but this kind of 180 is just too much. Badu’s new recording is a stark departure¬† from her previous work, but she’s not talking about fightin’ “bitches” and actin like she’s a Crip all of a sudden. I am not sure if I want to hear the full recording when it drops later this year.

I can live if neo-soul is dead, but I hope integrity isn’t.