What SZA’s Ctrl means to me, and every other lost 20 something out there tbh

ctrl2As a Capricorn, unfortunately, I tend to be a control freak. What’s even more unfortunate is that I’m also extremely unlucky. Unluckily my life is constantly spiraling into tumultuousness, sending my inner freak into its daily panic attack on the regular. I am always finessing through the twists and turns of my unluckiness just to reach normalcy, but when I graduated from college things went from a light sitcom to a tragic dramedy. Here I was 20 something, heartbroken, cynical, without my dream job, insecure, constantly making mistakes, and seriously questioning myself.
ctrl3And then SZA dropped Ctrl, echoing my exact sentiments. Listening to her felt like we shared the same brain. Excluding Normal Girl, my life mirrored the storyline of each and every track. I thought I was the only one who felt 20 something and lost, but SZA captured everything I was feeling and turned it into art. I wasn’t alone either. My twitter feed was flooding with Drew Barrymores who all could relate to their out of Ctrl lives. I think that God put Ctrl into my life to show me that I’m not the only one that lost my way or makes mistakes.

Her lyrics’ authenticity allows her to connect with others in a way that’s uplifting not ctrl5because it’s cheery, but because it’s honest. It’s human. It’s what we all desperately needed to hear. That is what music is supposed to do. Art that is done right hones in on real emotion and tells stories that transcend comfort zones in a creative way. Art has a way of making you feel new emotions as they pierce through your soul right at the moment when you thought you were numb. Art reminds you how to feel again, and why feelings are important, even the painful ones. Real, honest, raw, art is a magical experience.
#CuervoNoChaser party, hosted by Jose Cuervo x Afropunk on Cinco de MayoI wouldn’t expect anything less from SZA. I first fell in love with her years ago while scrolling through the only social media platform that I thought really understood a weirdo like me, Tumblr. She was beautiful in a way I’d never seen before. Darker brown skin like mine, thick thighs like mine, big frizzy hair like mine, coke bottle curves and a warm heart. We even have the same insecurity of having a little booty. “Black girl magic” wasn’t a thing yet, but she was the epitomite of it before the phrase could be coined. She was weird like me too, a different kind of Black. She was on Tumblr and alternative and carefree and intelligent and magnetic, and obviously I had a huge girl crush on her. This quirky curvy brown skinned queen had me head over heels just from her aesthetic alone, but when I listened to her chill yet angelic mixtapes, I knew she was something special. We are nowhere near twins, but representation has a way of making you feel less alone.

Who knew years later she’d use her soulful voice and lyrics to continue to remind me again that I am not alone? SZA, you’ll probably never read my little blog, but if you ever do I’d like to thank you. Your honesty, vulnerability, and poetic lyrics got me through some dark days. Your truth has touched so many people including me, and I hope you continue to bloom and flourish. Thank you for giving us music that reflects who we really are and giving us powerful music that really matters.

This album is too glorious for just one post, so I promise several think pieces, reviews, and mentions are coming soon. Stay tuned and stay flawless.

Drew Barrymore


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