In September I was alerted to a new Toni Braxton single, entitled “Deadwood,” by a friend who has long known my affinity for all things Toni Braxton.
I heard the song and, unsurprisingly, loved it. So being the longtime fan that I am, I promptly went to Twitter in order to spread the gospel. That’s when I realized that the Toni Braxton has blocked me on Twitter.
Usually I couldn’t give any less of a fuck if someone blocks me on social media. I have a strong affinity for muting and booting and blocking weirdos, dummies and Russian bots—sometimes shortly after cursing them smooth out. I’m also not surprised when select celebrities, politicians and public figures block me. After all, I’m basically paying my rent, oppressive student loans, catfish dinners and happy hours by being a different kind of librarian. Like, I randomly realized around the same time that Kenya Moore had blocked me. Whatever, she can twirl her happy ass off The Real Housewives of Atlanta already.
But it’s different when it’s someone like Toni Braxton. Like many of you, I grew up with Braxton and am a longtime fan. Before puberty chopped up, not slopped up, my vocal cords, I could sing a bit or whatever. And I used to write songs. I started to write them around the age of 9. I used to write fake-ass Babyface songs influenced by her eponymous debut album. So the love is real and oh so pure.
And I have purchased so many Braxton albums—including the ones many of y’all didn’t buy, like More Than a Woman, which is criminally underrated; Libra; and Pulse. Bitch, I’m turning on “Hands Tied” right now after I finish trying and failing to duplicate Tamar Braxton’s sublime background vocals on her big sister’s track “Always.” I also purchased Toni Braxton’s duets album with Babyface: Love, Marriage & Divorce. Speaking of, thank you, Babyface, for convincing Toni Braxton to continue singing.
A lot of folks online take pride in being blocked by celebrities and other public figures, but that’s not my ministry. Like, when Braxton came for my lord and gyrator, Beyoncé, on The Wendy Williams Experience years back over the 2Pac sample, I prayed for her healing! That’s love.
So, why me, Toni Braxton? Granted, she’s Toni Braxton and can do whatever she wants, but what did lil’ ole me ever do to her? When I told a few people about it—mostly to just laugh at the irony—I was reminded of TLC’s “Case of the Fake People” and “What About Your Friends,” ’cause a few of those motherfuckers essentially said that, knowing my slickness, I must’ve deserved it.
Insert an apricot-hued asshole shouting, “Fake news!” here.
But then I thought about it some more and realized that it may have had something to do with my live-tweeting of Braxton Family Values. You see, I tend to come up with nicknames for people, and I developed quite a few for her sisters. Like, I referred to Trina Braxton as “Mountie Braxton,” Traci Braxton as “Left Behind Braxton” and Towanda Braxton as “Yolanda Adams Face Braxton.”
In my defense, Trina does sound like she’s from Quebec as opposed to “Murrlyn.” Likewise, one of the big storylines on their reality show was that Traci was indeed left behind as all of her sisters worked in the entertainment business. And hell, Yolanda Adams is pretty! That’s not shade, but they do look like they could be first cousins who share wigs. Y’all don’t see that?
Then I realized that I also agreed with the notion that Toni Braxton is sort of like the Shug Avery of R&B. But who doesn’t love Shug Avery? She was the one person who got Mister and Celie to reach an accord on something for a change.
For those wondering, “Why is your crazy ass talking about this?” No, I am not black Yolanda Saldivar. I’m not obsessed with Braxton, but she is one of my favorite artists, so as she was making the rounds promoting her Lifetime movie, Faith Under Fire, it did remind me that I’d like that old thing back.
So I’m still going to buy your forthcoming album, Sex & Cigarettes, legend, even though you blocked me, and despite my contempt for cigarette smoke, but I do think you should forgive me. And while we’re at it, we should set up an interview, too, because I have questions about Birdman and this duet and whether or not you still own that white catsuit from the iconic “You’re Making Me High” video.