Professional athletes, especially those who grew up poor or middle class have a lot to deal once they sign those big deals. Once just famous locally for their skills on the field or on the court they are immediately elevated to a new level of fame they often aren’t ready for. They’ve got money and everyone knows how much. They are used and abused by strangers, new friends, old friends and even family members.
When I got word that Steve “Air” McNair had been fatally shot, like many people, I was shocked because he was one of the more solid athletes that seemed to be on the right track. Later we found out that the young woman he was with, who was not his wife, may have killed him and then herself. When something like this happens it’s usually a case of a person deciding that if they can’t have the person they love, no one will have them. We hear about it a lot. If not to that extreme we’ve seen or heard about or have even been involved in love that for some wrong goes very wrong. This kind of love that or obsession with another has been going on forever. There have been plays, movies and yes, songs written about them that sometimes makes it look romantic or evencomical, Long before the movie, “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, starring Martin Lawrence and Lynn Whitfield there was the song that pointed out how one minute your woman could be fixing you something to eat and the minute she’s putting you in the hospital. If you’ve ever been a victim to stalking, it can be a frightening experience but musically speaking, some of the best songs involve people refusing to allow the person they love to move on. In “Til You Come Back to Me,” by the Queen, mama souls says, until he comes back she’s gonna rap on his door and tap on his window pane…how scary is that?
Love is a beautiful thing but it always needs some balance and some boundaries. Right before your eyes something that seems sweet and sexy can turn frightening and dangerous, and it usually doesn’t inspire a song. Yet, people continue to write about scary behavior in a way that makes us bob our heads and snap our fingers. Take I Will Die for You by Prince or Lauren Hill’s, The Sweetest Love I’ve ever known. It sounds nice until she says, “sometimes I watch you in your sleep,.” Hold up, I can’t think of to many more obvious red flags than waking up to having someone staring at you. I’m not sure whether all these lyrics about unhealthy love are written by the victims or the perpetrators, but I do know the fact that it’s been going on for generations is a sign it isn’t going anywhere. New school picked it right up with Jazmine Sullivan I’ll Bust the Windows Your Car. And even though we joke that the best kind of love is a little crazy, a little crazy can quickly turn into a lot. And in the end if you can laugh about it, write a song about and better yet, dance about it…consider yourself lucky.