Azealia Banks (Cassandra Hannagan/Getty Images)

In the last couple of days of any given year and the first few of the one that follows, you may often hear people declare that they are cutting off people from their lives. Now more than ever, such proclamations are more visible thanks to social media. Unsurprisingly, this heightened visibility has spurred retaliatory announcements like, “Shut your dumb ass up!” or “No one cares!” or some like-minded sentiment.

I like to let people do whatever the hell they want. Even so, whereas some consider the new year to be a guide as to when to cut folks off, I prefer to use the time to reconsider who to allow back in or, at the very least, to offer another chance.

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As someone who functions primarily as a critic—or, as one friend would describe me, Literary Lucifer—I know that I may occasionally write off some pop-cultural characters too swiftly. And then I saw a tweet that made me think: Who would I give a second chance to?

OK, I’m definitely not giving Iggy Azalea another chance. I know she has a new single coming, but I’d rather smell the insides of one of Sloppy Steve’s seven undershirts than give that Australian white woman who oddly rapped like Charli Baltimore another chance. “Pu$$y” will forever slap, but that’s the best I can do.

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But here are some Negroes and others I’m either giving another chance or encouraging you to give a break.

Azealia Banks

I know, I know. She’s worn me out for years, too. However, if she’s going around doling out apologies to Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, I think maybe, just maybe, I can open up my heart and let her bops back in. But here are a few tips: Put away the bleaching cream. Stop beefing with Remy Ma, even though you weren’t wrong. Actually, stop jumping into other people’s problems altogether. Just continue apologizing to everyone and make your music. That’s it.

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Sugar-Free Xscape

So when I found out that three members of Xscape—Tiny, Tocha and Tamika—were planning to record new music as Xscape without Kandi, I was excited. As we noticed on their reality show, their appearance on Watch What Happens Live and every other appearance on live television, Kandi is cool with getting this reunion-tour check, but not much else thereafter. Their first single, “Dream Killa,” is a bop.

Unfortunately, the rest of those singles—which I will not name, out of respect for the trio—are not it. One sounds like an OMG Girlz (RIP) reject, and the other sounds, uh, awful. Ladies, I am rooting for y’all and want to spend coins on this reported EP, but please don’t put out anything that will prove Kandi right. That’s what I felt near the end of 2017, and it made me uneasy because Kandi acted all the way up on the Bravo show. I believe in y’all, so I’m going to light a candle at church (OK, in my mind) that y’all will steer this back right.

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Pro tip: Record songs like “In the Rain,” that cover of DeBarge’s “All This Love” from the forgotten New York Undercover soundtrack, and anything else that will give me lots of harmony and book vocals. Don’t do shit else. Don’t rap. Don’t try to make Fashion Nova auntie tunes. Just sing down.

Tinashe

Stop laughing. I have felt bad for Tinashe. She’s a talented singer-songwriter, dancer and producer. She had her own sound crafted in her childhood home that led to mixtapes, a small but vocal following, a major label deal, a very solid debut album and then ... well, I don’t know what RCA, her record label, is doing over there. She’s been teasing a return to music, and while I know many of you only know her as the “2 On” girl, please give her another chance.

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Keri Hilson

I know she became the Maleficent of R&B, but I miss her thot bops. Usually, I never forgive those who cross Beyoncé, but hasn’t the woman suffered enough? Keri, I don’t know where you are and what you’re doing, but can you come back and drop some new tunes already? At the very least, can you email me that song “Dinero” that you teased on your Snapchat and Instagram years ago? I really need it. Pretty (girl rock) please or some shit, if saying that helps?

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

Thus far, this season has been a bore. Too many of them don’t have jobs, interesting storylines or quality wigs. I’m ’bout fed up, but because, along with many of you, I have history with the show, I’m trying to hold on. I’m going to give this a few more episodes on good faith, but if this continues to be NyQuil with advertisers, I say do a major overhaul. That’s better than me saying call Phaedra Parks.

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Mariah Carey

Mimi already got a second chance with the New Year’s Eve performances, but I personally have not forgiven the public for sleeping on her last album. She’s in the studio, so do her a favor and atone once it drops. Thanks.

The Formation World Tour

This is not so much asking for a second chance as it is me wondering where the hell the tour special is and begging Beyoncé to go ahead and drop it. I’ll take back what I said about Keri Hilson if it means it’ll come sooner.

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Ciara

The former multiplatinum-selling artist who had multiple hits—including numerous No. 1s on the Hot 100—somehow morphed into a Kardashian with a strange accent. Nonetheless, Ciara continues to look amazing and appear limber, and now that she’s found a new record deal, I’m hoping that she remembers exactly the kind of music that made her a star to begin with. She should call Jazze Pha and ask him to dig through the crates.

Remy Ma

I know, I know. She released “SHEther.” She also released “Another One,” which was terrible, and “Wake Me Up,” which is not that lit. I may love Nicki Minaj, but I do really like Remy. She can do better than “Wake Me Up.” I just don’t understand how you jump on the beat of “Queen Bitch” and can’t rap on the beat. And why is the legendary Kimberly Jones doing a Young Thug impersonation on the sample of her iconic track?

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The Real

It’s Tamar-less, but it’s going to be on until 2020 anyway. But Loni, practice more with that teleprompter, love.

Alicia Keys

I see that Alicia Keys will be on Justin Timberlake’s new album. Now, I haven’t liked an Alicia Keys album in a smooth decade. She’s had a few nice tracks here and there (I mean “In Common,” basically), but let the record show that if she decides to record a new album that recalls “You Don’t Know My Name,” my heart and streaming service of choice are both open.

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Mýa

Mýa never went away, but because she’s an independent artist, many miss out on the music she’s been making. Music that’s been much like Moodring, her finest project and one of the best R&B albums of the 2010s. Listen to the EPs With Love and Love Elevation Suite, plus the album Smoove Jones.

Ameriie

If she loses the extra I. I miss her music (first two albums). I miss R&B singers who make chill music in their real accents. No shade.

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Mario

This man made the Go album, and look what we did to him. Ingrates!

Brandy

If she finally accepts that Whitney Houston had more than one friend.

Ashanti

I’ll admit to not appreciating Ashanti as much as I arguably should have in years past—well, the “Rock Wit U (Aww Baby)” years, as opposed to the ass-scooting-on Queen Latifah’s-stage moments. In any event, she’s releasing new music, and before you dare try it, the material is good. I actually bought her new single, “Say Yes,” featurithng Ty Dolla $ign, and based on that Instagram of hers (that looks like wealth and happiness), she seems to have a budget for quality producers and features. I want her to have another lil’ moment again.

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Omarion

Omarion reminds me of a 1990s sitcom dad. That’s not a compliment. On the other hand, he’s making really great music. And I don’t mean the song about ass eating—which straight folks won’t stop arguing about because they’re two centuries late to it. Moving on ... yes, Omarion is a bit corny, and it’s hard to forgive anyone who wouldn’t want to give Lil Fizz whatever he wants, but listen to the CP4 EP and tell me it’s bad. If you tell me that, your ass is lying.

Trump Voters

I’m kidding. Fuck those people forever. Instead of those, let’s just say Instagram. Its algorithm keeps pissing me off, but since I know I’m not about to let the app go anytime soon, I have to at least try to make peace.

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