R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan is best known for her extraordinarily rich vocals sung over singles like “Need U Bad” and “Bust Your Windows,” which propelled her to stardom.

A Philadelphia native, Sullivan attended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts as a vocal music major and at the age of 15 signed her first record label deal with Jive Records, the Los Angeles Sentinel reports. Although Sullivan was eventually dropped, she continued to record background vocals in the industry and eventually connected with the likes of Missy Elliott, who assisted with the production of her debut album, Fearless.

Released in 2008, Fearless featured Sullivan’s debut single, “Need U Bad,” which peaked at No. 37 on Billboard’s Hot 100, “Bust Your Windows,” which reached No. 31 on the same chart, and “Lions, Tigers & Bears” which reached the No. 10 spot on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs.

Sullivan’s arrival was solidified, but still the songstress was met with challenges. She released her sophomore album, Love Me Back, in 2010, which featured the singles “10 Seconds” and “Holding You Down (Goin’ in Circles).” In 2011, the latter was nominated for a Grammy in the category of best female R&B vocal performance — but little did Sullivan know, her first Grammy win wouldn’t come until almost 11 years, two albums, and several nominations later.

Released on Jan. 8, 2021, Heaux Tales marked Sullivan’s return to music after a five-year solo hiatus, and would score the songstress three Grammy nominations in the categories of best R&B performance, best R&B album, and best R&B song for the album’s single “Pick Up Your Feelings.” And on the night of April 3, 2022, Sullivan would become a two-time Grammy Award-winning artist.

Sullivan took home awards for best R&B performance and best R&B album, and shared with the world her astonished reaction.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been wanting to win a Grammy since I was a kid,” she said. “After losing so many times, I feel like I kind of gave up. … So it’s surreal to actually hold these babies,” she said, according to Variety.

The awards may have only listed Sullivan as their recipient, but her wins are a win for us all. From her own mouth, Heaux Tales ended up being a “safe space for Black women to tell their stories — for us to learn from each other, laugh with each other and not be exploited at the same time.” The album explored the ever complex experiences of Black women when it comes to sexual freedom, the quest for romance and the effects of unrealistic-yet-glorified beauty standards on self worth, as well as the notion of misplaced judgments that we make on ourselves and hold over other Black women. 

By the end of the listening experience, Heaux Tales reminds us that, not only is agency ours to have, but it is ours to freely give to one another — to have the boldness to decide how we choose to live our lives, and the community to stand in those decisions transparently. Heaux Tales reminds us that we are our sister’s keeper. That is why Jazmine Sullivan’s Grammy win is a win for us all.

newsrelationships