Had a little downtime today at work. And, in between the vancomycin, and amiodarone drips, I discovered this song. In between vancomycin, and amiodarone drips, this song discovered me.
I have to take a minute and explain why this song, like *valley girl voice* almost changed my life. *gangsta returns*
Lets start with the video.
Filmed in a nostalgic, wistful voice, it brings to mind a visual that feels like “where the wild things are” + an old spike lee joint. The main characters are as eloquent as characters in the silent movies. You can’t help but fall in love with the fledgling cupid who tries her best to connect two star-crossed lovers. [Confession: I don’t really understand the term ‘star-crossed lovers’ but it seems like it fits.
Cupid first tells the “gentleman” to try to disguise himself – to put on a different face, to pretend to have it all together. He tries all the different faces, to no avail. The hero then moves on to the epic romantic gesture, borrowed from Say Anything, a 1989 love story starring John Cusack. While cupid is regrouping, the gentleman finally decides to meet the Heroine with the thing she loves to do. Dancing. They end up dancing the night away. And the fledging cupid graduates and gets her arrows.
And if the video wasn’t enough, the lyrics are even better. My favorite lines:
“She said lion’s are made for cages
Just to look at in delight
You dare not let ’em walk around
’cause they might just bite”
Which, to me, speaks of not only love but all society. Part of manhood, I think, in these modern times, is coming to terms with the parts of you that are dangerous. The parts that are competitive, that fight, that are aggressive, many of these parts that society tries to cage. But I think, its important that, instead of repressing these parts, we accept them, we control them, but we don’t abandon them.
This concept is even more applicable when applied to blackness. There are parts of being a black man, that the majority would love you to repress, to sanitize, to deny. But I think these things are part of your uniqueness, and to deny them would be detrimental not just to you, but to society in general. Studies have shown, over and over, that diversity is important in the marketplace, as different experiences help us to see the world differently, and thus to come up with solutions that may tackle solutions differently.
Side note: Love the fact that the lady, was so enamored with her life (Dancing) that it wasn’t until she was approached in the right way that she allowed the gentleman into her life.
Fly or Fall. Be Good.
P.s. If you were wondering what the artist said about the song meaning:
“It’s about unrequited love, the desire for the individual to come out of this box that the woman is putting this man in. He wants to be free; free to love, free to be himself, but he can’t. She admires him to a certain extent. She admires him in a cage. We love lions in a cage and we want to pet the lion if his extremities are shackled. But do we want to pet him when he’s outside his cage? I use that metaphor to speak of a man who really wants to love and who is not allowed to because he’s kept in a box. Men like that song and in an interesting way, it’s like a grown man’s lullaby. You’re still a man, you’re still a lion, but you’re able to express your vulnerability.” – Gregory Porter