The Jill Scott Effect

Okay, Jill Scott.

At this point in the day we all have seen her picture on our timelines, on our favorite blogs or, in my case, in the forefront of our fantasies while sitting at the desk at work. To those under the proverbial rock, basically JIll Scott was on stage doing Jill Scott things and usually in her live show that means Jill Scott was being beautifully raunchy. Now, to people that are not new to Ms. Scott and her antics on stage this wasn’t really a big deal. I’ve seen her live nine times and I can remember her “stroking a mic stand lovingly” on at least three or four of those occasions. But even for those like me that weren’t completely surprised at it, it was still cool to see; this act of molesting her microphone in ways that made most men jealous of a piece of audio equipment coming from a woman with that voice, that talent, that unassuming smile. In fact that very “Jill Factor” is large part of her appeal.

The bedrock of Ms. Scott’s work is beautifully written songs about the love dynamic. The work is filled with melodic pieces about “the way you love me” and declaring that “he loves me” in such a way that when he touches her she can’t control it. And they are nice songs, love songs that are sweet and innocuous on the surface but roaring with sensuality that can easily be overlooked. Then she kicks you in the head with a song about Crown Royal which is a little less subtle and causes one to think, “is this lady being nasty right now?” but it’s still metaphorically sound enough to skim past a lazy ear and you lay back and chill to her and lose yourself in the beat; the lyrics graze but don’t impact you. You became and remained a casual listener over time and then, BAM!, today she up and down your timeline giving the full service hoover action to her microphone basking in the aura of full grown Black woman eroticism and you’re at your desk at work hoping no one saw you drool on your phone screen. She sucked you in (pun kinda intended), got you all comfy, and then said, “Okay, lemme show you what I’m really about right quick.” You spend the rest of the day and night listening to her discography and all the coded lyrics and have that “Ahh, that’s what she was talking about!” moment to yourself. 15 years late, but you had the moment nonetheless. A lot of men got their wives in similar fashion.

There’s at least one person in our romantic pasts that we initially thought was just cool. When we met them they were the quiet girl in the corner. She smiled politely when you looked in her direction. Her face flushed a little when you complimented her. You learned that she was a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club. She chairs a committee or two with her sorority. You ask her out, you go to a show. You like her giggle, it’s sweet, innocent. She says she has fun and gives you a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night. All very innocuous. Now you think that you saw something there, a thin veil of naughty just below the surface of her smile but you shake it off because she’s nice, like that Jill Scott song you heard that one time. Then a date or two more passes, you’re Netflixing with aspirations but no real hopes to Chill…until it happens, a stray hand here, a peck, a kiss, a rub, and then a full tumbling down the rabbit hole and you’re cautious because she’s the good girl and a stop sign is coming, you feel it in your bones, but she ramps up on you and before you know it, in the words of that great Negro poet Chubb Rock, “She got all Vanessa Del Rio on you”, and then you were struggling to catch up, but you can’t because you underestimated her thinking that you’d be the teacher but here you are the student because she’s leveled up on you and unveiled a new side you didn’t know existed because you’ve only been relaxing to her surface beat while letting her deeper lyrics, so to speak, graze you. Now you’re a weird combination of turned on and awestruck because Dr. Jekyll has turned Ms. Hyde and you’re hanging on for dear life experiencing a real life “Crown Royal” on your sofa. Then, before you know it, it’s over and the sweet demure girl you invited over is back to herself making her way to the bathroom smiling all the way and you sit there on the couch watching her shadowy figure in the muted light from the lamp on the end table and you think to yourself, “I’m confused, do I love this chick now? I think I love this chick.” Now you know you love her, you’re married with two kids and you gotta bring the ham for dinner at 4:00pm with the in-laws.

So let’s give a rousing round of applause to that girlfriend, that wife, or that stealthy significant other with that Jill Factor. The one that loves conversations with your mama, can play XBox with your baby cousin, can play spades with your crazy uncle, can talk politics with your cable news watching father, knows the last time your team won a playoff game, knows the words to your Grandmother’s favorite hymn, and then after that can take you home and do things fit only for that one website you shouldn’t be going to on the family computer. It is that Jill Scott advanced level of dichotomy that keeps us on our toes and makes this grand blue globe spin round and round.

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