Perspective: 90’s song ‘Black Coffee’ is anthem for Black women

by Trinity Bland, Managing Editor

There have only been a few times in my life where I can pinpoint when a song made me stop in my tracks and immediately say, “This song was written with me in mind.”

“Black Coffee” from Heavy D & The Boyz’s 1994 “Nuttin But Love” album provided me with said experience. The four-and-half minute song is essentially a love letter to Black women – and no one can convince me otherwise.

Performed by an all-Black hip-hop group, the song’s hook (“Black coffee, no sugar, no cream, that’s the kind of girl I need down with my team”) capitalizes on the idea of “Black love” and the inevitable beauty that comes from being romantically connected to a Black woman. I had no idea an analogy between a beverage I’ve only consumed once in my life and my entire identity could help me feel more secure within my Black womanhood, but it did – and I owe it to the late, great Dwight “Heavy D” Myers.

As the song progresses, the verses explore the concept of Black love further and persuade listeners to ponder their romantic preferences. By describing his dream woman (“gotta be a light skin or dark skin, Black”), Heavy D highlights the versatile and majestic characteristics of a Black woman (“an intellectual, beautiful, sexual”).

Culturally, Black women have always been the blueprint and when it comes to fashion (“positive style”), dancing (“appreciate the fact that you never miss a step”) and our bodily curves (“backside bigger than a mob”), the rapper justifies why his romantic preference is superior.

From staying in an unhealthy relationship to suffering in silence at work in efforts to appease others, Heavy D notes Black women have been loyal under extreme circumstances for generations (“She’s a trooper, if she has to, she’ll eat beans from the can”) and that, while hard work isn’t a foreign concept (“I need a girl who ain’t afraid to scrap”), to establish the lifestyle we desire (“a very nice girl but don’t mistake her for no softie”), we are natural nurturers (“warm, considerate” / “the backbone of the Black home”) and don’t always have to be strong.

As a Black woman, I‘m a victim of societal mistreatment and disrespect. When it comes to the color of my skin, my personality, my language, my platonic and romantic relationships, the choice I made to pursue higher education and everything else in between, people will always have something to say about my place in the world.

What strikes me the most about “Black Coffee” is how Heavy D affirms all Black women in the song, regardless of where we are on our journey of interpreting our Blackness, womanhood, sexuality and the intersection between them. 

After hearing the song a few times, I promised myself that my next significant other would need to share the rapper’s sentiments for Black women and base their appreciation for me on the song because I feel that the lyrics would allow them to understand me completely as a Black woman, and why I felt the song was written just for me.

However, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must dedicate “Black Coffee” to myself while having its lyrics serve as my daily affirmations. 

I am warm, considerate and a very nice girl, despite what society says I am. When I start a family of my own I, too, will be the backbone of my home. I am intellectual, beautiful and sexual – and I believe all of those things to be true. 

“Black Coffee” is a love letter to me, an anthem to accentuate my womanhood in full and a sweet ode of pride to my Blackness over a groovy ‘90s classic hip hop beat.

Trinity Bland is a senior studying television, film, media and Spanish. Follow her on Twitter @trinityaliciaa.