Photo by Gregory Harris courtesy of GQ.
Granting his first major interview (not to mention photo shoot) in quite a while prodigal player D’Angelo is featured in a 6-page spread in the June issue of GQ magazine, speaking in-depth about the ups and downs of his life and career, and getting his suit-and-tie on for the style-minded men’s publication. Dig into a few fascinating excerpts below and then check the full piece at GQ.
D’Angelo on the evil in music:
There’s forces that are going on that I don’t think a lot of motherf-ckers that make music today are aware of,” he says. “It’s deep. I’ve felt it. I’ve felt other forces puling at me.” He stubs out his cigarette and leans toward me, taking my hand. “This is a very powerful medium that we are involved in,” he says gravely.” “I learned at an early age that what we were doing in the choir was just as important as the preacher. It was a ministry in itself. We could stir the pot, you know? The stage is our pulpit, and you can use all of the energy and that music and the lights and the colors and the sound. But you know, you’ve got to be careful.”
Paul Hunter (Director of “Untitled:) on the video being misunderstood:
“Most people think the ‘Untitled’ video was about sex, but my direction was completely opposite of that. It was about his grandmother’s cooking. Think of your grandmother’s greens, how it smelled in the kitchen. What did the yams and the fried chicken taste like? That’s what I want you to express.”
Later when I tell D’Angelo this, he says, “It’s so true: We talked about the Holy Ghost and the church before that take. The veil is the nudity and the sexuality. But what they’re really getting is the spirit.”
D’Angelo on the effects of the ‘Untitled’ video:
“One time I got mad when a female threw money at me onstage, and that made me feel like f-cked-up, and I threw the money back at her. I was like, ‘I’m not a stripper.’”
On the last day of the eight-month tour, Questlove says D’Angelo told him, “Yo, man, I cannot wait until this f-cking tour is over. I’m going to go in the woods, drink some hooch, grow a beard, and get fat.” Questlove thought he was joking. “I was like, ‘You’re a funny guy.’ And then it started to happen.That’s how much he wanted to distance himself.”
Chris Rock on the pressures of black genius:
“Black stardom is rough, dude. I always say Tom Hanks is an amazing actor and Denzel Washington is a god to his people. If you’re a black ballerina, you represent the race, and you have responsibilities that go beyond your art. How dare you just be excellent? D’Angelo. Chris Tucker. Dave Chappelle. Lauryn Hill. They all hang out on the same island. The island of What Do We Do with All This Talent? It frustrates me.”
props to GQ