CINCINNATI, Ohio –
In the midst of his world tour to promote his newest album, Black Messiah, performer D’Angelo has faced a surprising backlash from some fans. During his tour, the singer/songwriter has worn mesh tops, social-political messages scrawled across t-shirts, and ruffled tops. But the on thing he has not done is gone shirtless, and this has seemed to upset some of his most loyal fans.
“I didn’t come to a show for music alone,” Says Raykeesha Johnson of Cincinnati, Ohio. “I’ve been waiting a long time for D’Angelo to come back around. I was fixen to throw my unmentionables the moment he took his shirt off. But he went the whole show with a top on!”
D’Angelo made waves with his music video “Untitled (How Does it Feel)” off his album Voodoo in 2000. The video had D’Angelo standing naked with an all-black background, singing his song. The video was an unbridled success, but came with a price. From that point on, D’Angelo felt he was an object of desire, and his music came second.
“My songs started being drown out by women screaming for me to take my clothes off. After a while I started to just stand on stage with no shirt just to get it out of the way. That didn’t help either. They always wanted more.”
The artist then went into hiding for over a decade after Voodoo, working on producing music for others rather than make his own. In late 2014, D’Angelo reemerged and released Black Messiah. The album has been a successful return to form for the artist, but the struggles on stage have returned just as quickly.
“I just want some of that gorgeous man,” said enthused fan, Regina Hamilton. “I became a woman to Voodoo. And now I’m ready to get my groove back with Black Messiah, child. I can’t have him wearing no shirts on stage. I paid good money to see that man’s body. If I don’t get it, I’m going to sue the hell out of his entertainment company, producer, booker – anyone I can until I see that him without his clothes.”
“I was hoping a little weight gain and time would have removed their interest,” said D’Angelo. Who has already had to stop three shows short due to fan interruptions. One show included a shower of boos and jeers until he took his shirt and scarf. “But ticket sales are down because fans are warning I’m not performing shirtless. I guess there’s just no running from it. We’re looking to change some of the dynamics of the show to fit fans’ needs.”
The dynamics D’Angelo mentioned include a two-story picture of him standing naked, as well as a hologram that will strip on stage during his shows. There is also an industrial size vacuum being used to collect undergarments thrown on stage by fans.