Why I Still Feel Uncomfortable Listening To Tevin Campbell

Before I get started with this post, let me make two announcements:

1) Spotify is the absolute best app ever known to man, IMO. Just think Netflix for music but with little to no limits. Imagine if Netflix allowed you to watch any movie ever created on your device, and download the movie to your phone to watch while online. Yeah, that’s what Spotify does for music.

2) This story is not about the perceived sexuality of Tevin Campbell. Like anyone’s sexuality, it’s non of my business or concern.

Now for the story. This actually started back in 1989. I was 10 years old and there was a new album called Back On The Block by famed producer and composer Quincy Jones.

Keep in mind that in the 80’s there are a few things that we have now that didn’t exist back then. There were cell phones but they were the size of lunch pail’s and you certainly couldn’t watch videos online using those cell phones in the 80’s. Oh, also there was no online. Well at least not a portable version.

We also didn’t have cable often in my household growing up. I can remember only once having it for a while when we lived so far away from school and my mom’s job that we didn’t have time to watch it but on the weekends anyway. It was that old school analog box that sat on top of your tv with the little red block numbers showing up in front. Oh and that was another thing, you could put the box on top of your tv back then. You can’t put anything on top of these paper-thin tv’s today.

Another thing is that without wonderful creations like cell phones, Spotify, and the aforementioned internet on your phone, we utilized the radio more often. We hated the commercials and the dj talking over our favorite song as we tried to record it on a blank tape, but hey it was all we had.

Recently I revisited this memory by stumbling across Quincy Jones’ most recent album from 2010. I had never heard of it but I liked it. It made me remember to download the old album from 1989, especially since the song this story is about was remade (ironically by John Legend, who I can’t stand) on the most recent album.

Now that the back history is set up here’s the story. On the Back On The Block album I heard a song called Tomorrow by Tevin Campbell. This song was all over the radio when it first came out and on the 90 minute trip home they might have played it three times. I really liked the song. At the time I had no idea who sang it. This was during those Traffic Jams during the five and six o’clock hours so songs would be played consecutively with little interruption. So no one would come on say the name of the song or the artist.

You know how it is. The first time you’ve heard a song by an artist you don’t know. Or that radio DJ that you listen to daily. Or that person a friend of yours sets you up with that you speak with on the phone before you meet them. You have no idea what these people look like so you create them based on the sound.

Everyone does it. Every one uses the voice to draw yourself a mental image of what you think this person looks like. The sound of their voice almost instantaneously and effortlessly creates an image in your head. It’s the reason why so many people are disappointed when they actually meet their favorite radio dj or even that date, because sometimes they just don’t look like they sound.

Most times actually. But it’s usually not a big deal. So they’re a little short. Or they’re a little ugly. Or their missing their two front teefus. You’ll get over it with a story to share.

In my case it wasn’t so simple. All the way home I fell in love with this voice on that song. That’s because in my mind she was a beautiful, light-skinned girl. Probably had braces. She was about my age and when we got older we were going to be together forever and live happily ever after.

Yeah that’s a real dangerous idea. For those of you who are not leaning over in laughter right now, it’s because you don’t know that Tevin Campbell is a he.



The worst part was when I finally saw the video. I anxiously waited to finally see what the girl of my dreams looked like. I spent the first 30 seconds wondering why they had this little boy lip singing the words in this video and where was my lady. The next 30 seconds I was in denial. By the next 30 seconds I was nearly in tears. My life marriage to the love of my life was over before it started. After I heard that song on the car trip home after seeing the video I covered my ears. At that point I wished they had stopped playing the stinkin’ song three times. Now I have an idea of what those people on Jerry Springer feel like.

So now whenever I hear or see TC and especially when I hear that particular song I shiver.

And put in to practice that whenever I talked to a potential date on the phone first, I always made sure to ask if they are a female and were they born that way. For some reason it turned some girls off and offended them. It’s a simple question. I think if they were offended they were probably a man at some point in their lives. Or maybe they are Tevin Campbell.

Smh. I need therapy.


2 thoughts on “Why I Still Feel Uncomfortable Listening To Tevin Campbell

  1. I won’t lie either, Tevin not only sounded so much like a female back in those days but he name sounds feminine as well. “Tell Me What You Want Me To Do” had me convinced he was a girl, also. It was my cousin who convinced me otherwise …in hindsight I think that convincing took a few days.

  2. Don’t worry it’s not just u! When I first heard Round N Round on the Prince album Graffiti Bridge I was convinced this Tevin Campbell was a girl too, just from the voice, and it’s only after more than a year when either I saw the movie or his first album in a record store (can’t remember) that I realized he was a he ^^

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