Growing up, my parents were definitely music lovers. My dad can recognize any song within the first three notes, and my mom (a school teacher) kept MTV and VH1 on throughout the summers. (That was back when they were truly 24 hour music stations). I remember around 2nd grade my dad purchased a HUGE 6-disc CD changer. It seems like overnight we had hundreds of CDs in the house. Two CDs stand out in my mind: Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl and Keith Sweat’s Make It Last Forever (how could you ever forget that sweater…ugh!!!).

Keith Sweat was one of my mom’s favorite, so he definitely got a lot of airplay in our household. This past weekend I heard two songs off his Make It Last Forever album on the radio and was reminded how great that album was (6 of the 8 songs made his greatest hits album). That prompted me to purchase his greatest hits album, The Best of Keith Sweat: Make It Last. I blasted the album while cleaning Sunday and was impressed that it had 17 awesome tracks. Not once did I want to hit the next button (except the song with the Snoop Dogg feature, but it really wasn’t that bad). Surprisingly, I was even more impressed with the content Keith was singing about.

Keith was singing about love. He sung about chasing the girl, falling in love, and having his heart broken. He captured the complete essence of a relationship. Yes, a few of his tracks like “My Body” and “Get Up On It” were blatantly sexual, but even when he sung about sex it wasn’t raunchy or vulgar. It wasn’t just about humping while video cameras recorded. Keith loved, cared, and respected the girl he was sleeping with. He wasn’t just trying to get his.

There was a time when men sung about being in love. They loved and hurt just like women…and they weren’t afraid to sing about it or show it. I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere throughout the evolution of music, the love song died. Who do we blame? Jodeci? R. Kelly? Ginuwine? Trey Songz? I’m not sure, but I do know you are hard pressed to find a man singing a love song on today’s radio. They’re too busy singing about being horny at 3 in the morning, having threesomes and making movies, and turning bottles, and bottoms, up. This leaves me asking, has lust taken the place of love in our society?

Whether you admit it or not, music represents and influences the world we live in, and it especially has an effect on the kids who are listening. If mom and dad aren’t talking to Treshaun and Bookie about love, sex, and relationships, they are going to get their information from the next best thing. And all too often that next best thing is the celebrities we idolize who are living screwed up existences themselves. While Mr. Steal Your Girl and C. Breezy have a lot to say about sex, they can’t offer much of ANY insight on relationships.

I’m not trying to purify the music industry. I think we need a good sex song every now and then, but their does need to be balance. Seriously, can I get some love with my sex? Please?!?! I don’t want to live amongst a generation of men, black men, who are afraid to sing/play a love song and even more petrified to love one girl! If any men are looking for permission to love, here! You have it now. Trust me, we won’t think you’re weak. We’ll think you’re a valuable commodity!