R-E-S-P-E-C-T … Aretha Franklin first asked for it and now, decades later, the call for consideration within the black community is still being demanded on the airwaves. This time around, that voice comes from soul singer Noel Gourdin with the single “Beautiful,” in which he addresses some of the negative attitudes that men have toward women. The socially conscious single is from his forthcoming sophomore release, Fresh: The Definition, which is the follow-up to his 2008 debut, After My Time.
Gourdin spoke to rolling out about his own past disrespect of women, how interracial dating may be an underlying issue concerning respect within the black community and why women deserve to be treated with dignity no matter how they carry themselves. –souleo
Did the inspiration for “Beautiful” come from your own personal attitudes you may have had toward women in the past?
I wouldn’t say I was so bad in terms of disrespect but, in a subconscious way, we take women for granted. I would string them along and break hearts and not take relationships seriously because I wasn’t ready for a real relationship. I was never a name caller, but that’s the most typical form of disrespect nowadays.
The name-calling is so bad that you can walk down the street and hear men publicly, with no shame, disrespect women. Where do you think that stems from in our community?
It could be from growing up seeing that in the household. For some men, it’s an ego thing, like “Who does she think she is not to talk to me?” You’re more apt to see mixed relationships now, and it’s a beautiful thing. But from being in conversations with black women, they feel like no black men want them. So, it comes back to having respect. The disrespect level has to stop because it can get much worse with domestic violence levels increasing.
Some people would challenge your stance and say that some women behave in ways that would lead a man not to respect them. For example, a woman who dresses provocatively with her body fully exposed. Some wonder how can a woman like that expect to be taken seriously by men in her community.
I don’t think the way anybody dresses should provoke anything like that. It’s like being racially profiled and discriminating, and that’s not right. They have freedom to wear what they want to wear. So, I don’t think the way anybody would dress should provoke or be asking for anything like that. It all comes back to respect.