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7 R&B Songs That Sent Toxic Messages About Love & Relationships

7 R&B Songs That Sent Toxic Messages About Love & Relationships
Via TheShadeRoom
By Veronica Wells

Earlier this week, Michelle Williams had to let y’all know that even though she’s found a good man who is worthy of love and special attention and privileges, she has no intention of doing all the things outlined in Destiny Child’s hit song, “Cater 2 U.” I was with her. Even during my childhood, I could recognize that the song was a little too extreme. I mean in one of the lines Beyoncé literally says, “My life would be purposeless without you.” C’mon sis. It’s too much. I like to think of myself as a romantic and as a child, with no real world experience in love, music and particularly love songs were my peek, my gateway, my initial exposure to what love could and would be like. And to be honest, more than a few of them sold us some pipe dreams or toxic ideology about love, relationships, sex and dating. Check out just a few offenders below.

1. Nasty Girl- Destiny’s Child

Nasty put some clothes on, I told ya

Don’t walk out your house without your clothes on, I told ya

Girl what ya thinkin’ ’bout lookin’ that to’ down, I told ya

These men don’t want no hot female

That’s been around the block female, you nasty girl

Reading these lyrics in 2018, you would think a Hotep wrote them. Women can wear whatever they want. It shouldn’t absolve them from being treated with respect. Furthermore, the notion that men don’t want no “hot female” is one that has been proven false time and time again. Given the imagery associated with Beyoncé’s career these days, I’m sure she wouldn’t stand by these lyrics anymore.

2. Breathe Again – Toni Braxton

If I never feel you in my arms again

If I never feel your tender kiss again

If I never hear “I love you” now and then

Will I never make love to you once again?

Please understand, if love ends

Then I promise you, I promise you that

That I shall never breathe again (breathe again, breathe again)

That I shall never breathe again (breathe again)

I get it. Breakups are hard. But this is not the approach you want to take in a.) trying to convince a man to take you back or b.) healing once the relationship is officially over. It’s incredibly desperate—which has never been attractive. And if the relationship is really over, it would be a good idea to keep breathing.

3. You’re The One – SWV

So what’s my chance

(I’m willing to do anything to get)

In your pants

(You don’t have to worry, I won’t)

Say a thing

(And if she finds out, I don’t)

Know nothing, oh no

(No, no)

In this year of our lord, there are still scads of women who believe that they are entitled or have the right to someone else’s man. Womp. This song certainly didn’t help matters. Ladies, this is not the move.

4. Knockin’ da Boots- H Town

Good lovin’, body rockin’, knockin’ boots all night long, yeah

Makin’ love until we tire to the break of dawn

But oh, come on, come on and turn the lights down, and let me get on it, yeah

‘Cause when I do, just me and you, it’ll be so right

A-give me some good love

(Somebody rockin’ knockin’ da boots)

Imagine my shock and surprise when my high school psychology teacher bursted my bubble by informing the class that sex didn’t generally last all night long, till the break of dawn. Mind blown. All the songs about sex had lied to me…in very egregious ways.

5. Your Body’s Callin’- R. Kelly

You see you don’t have to say nothing

Knowing your body wants something

And it’s easy for me to see

That your body’s callin’ for me

Honestly, we could do a whole list of rapey R. Kelly lyrics. And knowing what we know now, it’s clear that he meant every word. This is not a consent song. Men, who are terrible at reading non-verbal cues are quick to believe they know what a woman wants when it comes to sex…without her opening her mouth. Lies and deceit. You need to hear it from her to know you should proceed.

6. Piece of My Love – Guy

Baby, you can’t have all of me

‘Cause I’m not totally free

I can’t tell you everything that’s goin’ on


There’s a few things in my past

That should not be explained

I’m askin’ you, baby

Be with me for a lil’ while (You can have a)

Please hush

No questions asked

Lay back and relax, girl

(I do love you, girl, it’s true)

Now, kick off your shoes

Lift your pretty head, darling (it’s waiting for you)

Since we’re here now, baby

I’m givin’ you a piece of me you can have

My best friend and I were teenagers, folding laundry at my house when we realized this 90’s groove was about a no count man. Not only was he unavailable, he didn’t want her to ask any questions about it as he gave her the piece of him she could have. Naturally, there was something in it for him.

7. Woman to Woman- Shirley Brown

The clothes on his back

Ha ha, I buy them

The car he drives, I pay the note every month

So I’m telling you these things

To let you know how much I love that man

And woman to woman

I think you’ll understand just how much I’ll do to keep him

I think the messiness of this song is no secret. We all knew it was all types of dysfunctional. Not only was Shirley supporting this grown ass man, he was also cheating on her. And instead of confronting him, putting him out of her home and cutting him off, she hopped on the phone to talk to the other woman. Nah.

What R&B songs do you think sent the wrong message?
7 R&B Songs That Sent Toxic Messages About Love & Relationships
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug

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