In what was his first television performance in 12 years, D’Angelo performed at the the BET awards tonight - reassuring his loyal fan base that he wasn’t in the witness protection program, or abducted by extraterrestrial life forms. Before tonight I was well versed on his road back to the spotlight, everything from his brushes with the law to his body issues - the latter being the most intriguing to me, as we learned about him working out like a madman before shows to acquire a certain look on stage to being treated like a piece of meat at every performance. I know, the women reading this are probably saying “Cry me a fucking river!” based on how often it unfortunately happens to them - but I just feel that it took a lot of balls to open up and admit something like that. And it makes sense for someone like D’Angelo, a singer who you can tell puts the artistry of what he does before anything else. That’s what was so interesting about his performance tonight.
Many of my twitter followers found D’Angelo’s set unsatisfying. Shrugworthy. Even underwhelming. Even Beyonce, as she stood up while D’Angelo was performing, had a “Come on, there has to be more” look on her face. But if you ask me, that’s exactly how he wanted it. The mere fact that the first song that he sang was “How does it Feel” while bearing nothing but his arms felt like a giant “fuck you” to every fan who ever wanted to see his pecs more than hear his vocal range. The both funky and subdued set was like a giant gauntlet was being thrown down, reacquainting himself with his fans by letting them know that D’Angelo 2.0 will be all about musicianship and nothing else. D’Angelo, as a guy who gets treated ridiculously different now that I’ve dropped about a hundred pounds, I get it. I really do. Good for you brother.