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Last week, “The Tavis Smiley Show” aired one of the most-anticipated interviews in music with Grammy-winning artist D’Angelo. In his first TV ‘conversation’ in over 10 years, D’Angelo opens up about his break from music, finding out ‘how it feels’ to be objectified, the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, Black Messiah and more.

On ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’: “And a lot of times the crowd — or a lot of the ladies were just screaming, ‘Take it off!’ And I kind of felt like, for lack of a better thing, a male stripper, you know? Or I [was] expected to be that, you know what I mean?”D’Angelo

Check out some interview highlights below:

On His Iconic ‘Untitled’ Video, Feeling Objectified and Being A Sex-Symbol:
“It was all good. I think a lot has been made about me reacting to, or me being negative to the reaction of that video. And it really wasn’t that. Too big of a deal has been made out of that.”

“It would bother me a lot of times like when we were touring for ‘Voodoo’ and I had this amazing band, the Soultronics. Questlove was the drummer, [bassist] Pino [Palladino], of course I had the incomparable Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Frank Lacy on trombone. Just this outstanding band, and we were doing some amazing stuff musically. And a lot of times the crowd — or a lot of the ladies were just screaming, ‘Take it off!’ And I kind of felt like, for lack of a better thing, a male stripper, you know? Or I [was] expected to be that, you know what I mean?” [“You felt objectified,” Smiley said. “Women feel it every day.”]

On His Musical Influence’s Ability to Infuse Spirituality Into Their Work:
“It’s one of the things that I admire in my favorite artists that I really look to like Prince, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic, George Clinton—that’s what was happening.”

Growing Up in Church and It’s Influence on His Music:
“It totally informs everything I do. When I go on the stage, I bring that with me.” He said part of the Vanguard’s live routine just before taking the stage is to sing spirituals (like “Old Ship of Zion”) and pray.”

On The Civil Rights Movement and The Power of Music:
When asked if music had the power to change things the way it did during the Civil Rights Movement, D’Angelo answered: “Absolutely, that’s the frustrating thing about it, because music never loses that power, but the powers that be—the bean counters, the execs—they just want to make money and stick to a certain formula that makes money.”

On Black Messiah and The #BlackLivesMatter Movement:
“Black Messiah is, I think, the most sociopolitical stuff I’ve done on record. I think in lieu of everything that’s been going—the sign of the times, right—something needs to be said. There’s so few doing that right now, and that was funny to me because there’s so much going on. The Black Lives Matter movement is going on, young black men and women are getting killed for nothing. I’ve always been a big reader and fan of history, and I love the Black Panthers. … I’m not trying to be like a poster child or anything of the movement, but definitely a voice as a black man—as a concerned black man and as a father, as well.”

Watch Part I & II below.

Image Credits: PBS Tavis Smiley/BlackMessiah.co/ScreenGrab

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    He has the right to speak his mind on many issues. We should all do our part in the movement for black liberation. We can write, work in community programs, do charity, teach, mentor, express music, do art, work in STEM fields, etc. It’s never to late to help another human being and we’re here on this Earth to help ourselves and help other people.