Brotha

Angie Stone, 2001

To whom does the term "brotha" refer?

In the second verse, Stone indicates that Black men are "misunderstood." How were Black men portrayed in media at the time this song was written? How does Stone's portrayal of Black men counter that portrayal?

In what ways does the music amplify the positive tone of the lyrics?

Reflect on people in your family or community who respect and support you. What are some reasons why you value them and they value you?

Compare and contrast this song with "Black Happiness" (also in this unit). How do these songs portray the importance of relationships in defining home?

"Brotha" performed by Angie Stone on Mahagony Soul, © 2001. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult the following online resource for lyrics:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/angiestone/brotha.html

Angie Stone (nee Angela Laverne Brown) was born in 1961 in Columbia, South Carolina. Her father, who was involved in a local gospel quartet, shared his love of gospel music with her, took her to many performances, and inspired her to begin performing gospel when she was young. Although she sang gospel, Stone's first group was a rap group called the Sequence, which she formed with two female friends when she was sixteen. One of their first hits was "Funk You Up," which was recorded for the groundbreaking hip-hop label Sugar Hill. It was later picked up and adapted by other groups and became a hugely popular hit. After the group disbanded, Stone went on to collaborate with many rap and R&B artists.

Angie Stone Brotha single
Album cover for "Brotha."

In 1995 she participated in the neo-soul breakout album Brown Sugar, by D'Angelo. Her subsequent albums have been in this genre, a more nuanced and emotionally driven subset of earlier gospel-based soul music. "Brotha" is an example of neo-soul. It is a tribute to African American men, a demographic that was receiving widespread criticism at the time, as prominent figures such as Bill Cosby portrayed them as unsupportive of their families and placed the blame on them for forcing children of color to grow up in single-parent homes. Stone's song contrasts this portrayal by celebrating the Black men in her life as supportive and hardworking family and community members. In performance Stone paired this song with "A Woman's Worth," by Alicia Keys. Together the songs offered positive portrayals of both men and women of color.