Jazmine Sullivan’s ‘Heaux Tales’ won a Grammy for best R&B album, and that reminds me that ‘The Other Side’ is the best vision board song of all time

OPINION: I can’t think of one person who wrote a better vision boarding anthem than the Philly songstress, who also won a Grammy for best R&B performance.

Jazmine Sullivan accepts Best R&B Album for “Heaux Tales” onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I’ve said many times over the past year that Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales (released January 8, 2021) is easily one of the best albums of 2021. It’s relatable. It jams. The singing is amazing. It’s thematically sound, and she nailed the concept. It seems that the Recording Academy also agreed with me—I’ll take all credit here—awarding the Philadelphia songstress two Grammy Awards at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, both for best R&B performance for “Pick Up Your Feelings” (I also agree) and for best R&B album for Heaux Tales, for which I couldn’t agree more. 

My favorite song on the album is probably “Put It Down”—you can guess what that’s about—because it makes me laugh so much; it’s so comically human that it’s almost too honest. Every song is good, in my opinion, each one eliciting some different aspect of relationship trials and tribulations; even though the album is called Heaux Tales, obviously told from a female point-of-view, I found the subject matter to be largely human. If you have ever loved and/or not been loved in return, you can relate. 

One song, in particular, has always stood out to me because it sounds like the vision board to end all vision boards. I’m not sure how many songs could qualify as vision-board anthems, but this is definitely top 3, and that’s “The Other Side.” It is a song about wanting more and visualizing the dream life, according to her, which, if I’m not mistaken, is the central tenet to vision boarding; you find all these different visual manifestations of your goals, glue (or tape) them to a poster board and use it as motivation. That is literally what “The Other Side” is, just vocally. The song is all about what it will take to make Jazmine (or whatever character is running through this album) happy and lift her out of this barely making-it life she currently lives into the one she believes she wants. See? Vision.

So let’s get into these visions and this song, aptly titled “The Other Side.” Here are the lyrics to the first set of visions, courtesy of Genius.com: 

I’ma move to Atlanta
I’ma find me a rapper
He gon’ buy me a booty
Let me star in the movie
I’ma keep up my fitness
I’ma start me a business
And I’ll never be broke again
Strugglin’, God as my witness.

I see where she’s going. She will move to Atlanta, where she will find herself a rapper who will buy her a booty (she is good with her boobs; more on that later), which will then allow her to star in a movie, which will make her keep up with her fitness (so she can presumably get more movie roles); the money from the movies will probably let her start up a business (actual business undefined), and she will then never be broke again. Folks, I can see it all happening for her. I can see clearly now, for her, the rain is gone. 

Let’s do more. I didn’t point it out up top, but in the first verse, she mentions she can’t pay rent. In the second verse, she points out that she hopes her boobs will help get her out of the city (city undefined), at which point, she doubles down on her first set of visions with some ad-libs. Let’s take a gander, a goose, if you will.

(Fuck a day job)
So I’ma move to Atlanta
(Want a big house)
I’ma find me a rapper
(With a pool in the back)
He gon’ buy me a booty
(Get my ass done, fat transfer)
Let me star in the movie
(Go to parties every week)
I’ma keep up my fitness
(Gucci’s on my feet)
I’ma start me a business
(Get ’em when they drop)
And I’ll never be broke again
(Fuck a boycott)
Strugglin’, God as my witness

So we’re quitting jobs to move to Atlanta. She also wants a big house there, to go with her rapper. This house will also have a pool. That booty the rapper will buy her? It will be a fat transfer (her specificity is impeccable). She will star in movies AND GO TO PARTIES EVERY WEEK. Rock Gucci shoes at said parties and get them as soon as they drop. And to hell with that whole Gucci boycott; this is about her living her dream lifestyle. Jazmine’s vision board game is A-1. 

And just to make sure she nails all of her goals on this posterboard, she makes sure to add a few more on the way out. 

I just wanna be taken care of
‘Cause I worked enough, commas over love
I just wanna lay back, spend my baby money in his Maybach
I deserve that life
Be a damn good housewife
Two kids from a surrogate
Fly mama, I’ma stay fit, get a facelift
Soccer mom, gettin’ wasted (Wasted)
Hermès tennis bracelet (Bracelet)
Bora Bora for vacation
I’ll be anything but basic

She wants to be a kept woman who will chill and spend her boo’s money while traversing the town in his Maybach (again with the specificity; I like it). She deserves! But don’t get it twisted; she’ll be a good housewife with two kids that she will not have on her own (lest we forget her fitness and movie goals, body-ody-ody-ody) so she can stay fit. She will get a facelift as needed so she can be the flyest soccer mom with drank in her cup on the sidelines, rocking that expensive and exclusive Hermès tennis bracelet. And they will take vacations to places like Bora Bora. 

Listen, I’ve never made an actual vision board, but this song is as good a guide as exists, and Jazmine Sullivan needs all of her flowers for being so good at vision boarding that she could put one into a song, and it would be as awesome as this. 

To Jazmine Sullivan, vision boards and the other side. May we all get there.


Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest) but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

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