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  • Writer's pictureBulelwa Mthombothi

Heaux Tales – A Review

Album Released: 8 January 2021

Artist: Jazmine Sullivan

The last time we heard from Jazmine Sullivan was with 2015’s Fearless,

she has returned six-years later with an EP entitled Heaux Tales released

this year on the 8th of January.

This body of work is a conceptual masterpiece, that’s brought conversations

women have had behind closed doors for years now to the fore.

Conversations revolving around sex, love and the relationships that

emanate therefrom. The title of the EP encapsulates the subject matter and

intention of the EP succinctly. Referring to promiscuous women, men have

used to the word “hoe” as a slur and in changing the spelling of the word to

“heaux” Jazmine cultivates a safe space for women – black women, as the

slur was created to degrade us specifically - thank you black men. Rather

than being looked down upon for owning your sexual prowess the spelling

and the grammatical implication of ownership of the “tales,” gives women

the space to express their sexual agency and the power to own their

decisions whether it be a feeling of pride or regret, Jazmine lets us know it is

We are vast and varied and as such we have multiple realities that we face,

because black womanhood is not monolithic the EP explores this

multiplicity. The album features interludes called “Tales” – excerpts from

recorded conversations she’s had with friends and family members - from

women with differing personal perspectives of their concerns in terms of sex

and relationships. The tales range from telling women to own their sexual

agency as in Antoinette’s Tale as she says “… in reality the pussy is ours”,

to Donna’s Tale where she muses that all relationships are transactional in

nature, to Rashida’s Tale wherein she discusses how she felt after cheating

on her girlfriend, to Ari’s Tale (Ari Lennox) who declares how “dickmatized”she was and if we knew who this person was we’d ask, “bitch do you know

what google says” to which she replied; “yes, yes I do but I also know what

that dicks said.” The interludes complete the album in that they act as

author’s notes or introductory passages to what is to be discussed, melding

so well together that some tales share the subsequent songs backing track,

as in Ari’s Tale that segues perfectly into “Put It Down.” Tales of

experiences we might or might not have had but the main theme and what is

relatable is that we have been deprived the opportunity and that we too

These tales are uncommon in their individual stories but are similar in their

honesty and are intentionally clear that this is judgement free - zone. That

expressions of our realities deserve to be told, but even more impactful to

that conversation is that we are talking to each other without the constant

coddling of men’s feelings, which she makes very clear in “Pick Up Your


The influence of Jazmine’s upbringing in the church is evident, especially in

“Donna’s Tale” where we hear a church organ playing in the background.

Donna is ‘preaching’ to her friends with loud cheers of support as one would

hear in church during testimonials. It is apt not just for this tale but that all

the tales feel like testimonials of some sort, but without the judgement, side

eyes and paternalism of the church.

While giving space to “Heaux Tales” Jazmine also sings her ass off, riffing

and running amok with relatable quips like “I want to sit on it.” or “Boy

please, I don’t need it.” There is so much power in the subject matter and its

delivery is an illustration of understanding and hearty conviction. An

invitation to own your sexuality especially for a class of people who contend

with both racial and misogynistic barriers, owning our sexuality or lack

thereof is power inducing. It is a great listen, both fun and engaging- you

could listen to it alone or with a group of friends - it is really a meditation on

sexual liberation to which your girls will always have the front row seat.

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