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August 2, 2015

I Just Want to Be Held and Spun Around: On Black Life, Death, Love and Exhaustion

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Fearing for your life every time you walk outside, every time you get behind the wheel, every time you see a police officer, every time you breathe, is exhausting. Living in a world in which your blackness and woman-ness makes you less than human -- a hypersexual, angry or subservient caricature, the constant target of catcalling, rape and assault -- is exhausting.

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Mariah Carey: Through The Years
Mariah Carey: Through The Years
Since releasing her 1990 debut, Mariah Carey has survived a highly publicized divorce, getting dropped from one of the most lucrative recording contracts in music history and even a stint of exhaustion. But she returned to the top of the charts with one of the most successful albums in the past five years. On the cusp of her new 'Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel' album release, Blackvoices.com pays homage to the best-selling female artist of all time.
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Mariah Through The Years

    Mariah Through The Years:
    For Mariah Carey, having more number one songs than any solo artist in America has been a credit to the company that this five-time Grammy winner has kept since making her music debut in 1990. From people behind the scenes like L.A. Reid and Jermaine Dupri to some of her past loves like Tommy Mottola, Derek Jeter and now husband Nick Cannon, each man has played a significant role in inspiring the music that has made this 39 year-old singer/songwriter famous. Blackvoices.com takes a look at the men who have inspired Mariah Carey over the years.

    Tommy Mottola – Husband
    No one is more responsible for Mariah Carey's success than former Columbia Records head Tommy Mottola. After receiving Carey's demo from artist Brenda K. Starr, for whom Carey sang backup, he signed her on the spot. While recording her 1990 debut, the two became romantically involved and tied the knot in a lavish ceremony in 1993. Just three short years later, they split, and a divorce was finalized in 1998.

    Luther Vandross – Musical Collaborator
    The five-octave singer was fortunate enough to be one of the few entertainers to record a duet with the late Luther Vandross. Their cover of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross's 'Endless Love' became Vandross' biggest pop hit. It was the second single released from his 'Songs' album and was also included on two Carey albums: 'Greatest Hits' in 2001 and 'The Ballads' in 2008.

    Trey Lorenz – Backup Singer
    In 1992, Carey performed an MTV 'Unplugged' special to show nonbelievers that she was not a studio singer. Her cover of the Jackson 5's 'I'll Be There' with her longtime backup singer Trey Lorenz was later released as a single and became a number-one hit in the United States. Lorenz was able to score a record deal from the duet, and Carey co-produced his debut. On July 7 of this year, the two performed the song at the Michael Jackson memorial, which was held at the Los Angeles Staples Center.

    Jermaine Dupri – Producer
    It's not a well-known fact that Jermaine Dupri has been working with Carey for nearly 15 years. In 1995, Carey worked with the So So Def Records founder on 'Always Be My Baby,' from her 'Daydream' album. It became the most successful record on U.S. radio that year. And though these two worked on several remixes together over the years, their magic came a decade later when J.D. produced four songs on 'The Emancipation of Mimi,' Carey's 10th studio album and most successful to date.

    ODB – Musical Collaborator
    Since rapping 'Me and Mariah go back like babies and pacifiers,' Ol' Dirty Bastard, the late Wu Tang Clan MC, helped solidify Carey in the world of hip-hop and R&B. The 1995 remix to 'Fantasy' became a number-one hit. The friendship between Carey and ODB lasted throughout the years. The songstress even met the rapper upon his release from jail in 2003.

    Mase – Musical Collaborator
    'Honey' was Carey's 12th number-one song. Before turning his life over to God and becoming a minster, Bad Boy rapper Mase appeared on the popular remix of the record, alongside the Lox and Diddy. The song, which also had its own video, was featured on Carey's 2003 remix compilations, aptly titled 'The Remixes.'

    Derek Jeter – Alleged Beau
    Shortly after divorcing husband Tommy Mottola in 1998, the five-time Grammy award winner met New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter at a Fresh Air Fund gala in New York. The couple connected over their interracial parents – black fathers and Irish mothers. The public romance ended short of the one-year mark. In an interview with Parade magazine, Carey said "It was the wrong time. ...Our two worlds were just too much for that moment."

    Eminem – Alleged Beau
    From 'Clown' to 'Obsessed,' Carey has documented her disdain for Detroit MC Eminem in her music. The 'Glitter' actress denies they ever slept together, but Slim Shady has consistently rapped that the two were intimate. The rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, sent threats to Carey via the 2009 diss track 'The Warning,' which was directed at both Carey and her husband, Nick Cannon.

    Nick Cannon – Husband
    Nick Cannon, 28, dated singer-actress Christina Milian and was even engaged to Victoria's Secret model Selita Eubanks for five months before becoming Carey's second husband. In 2005, he convinced the Teen Choice Awards to let him present Carey's award for 'The Emancipation of Mimi.' Two years passed, and the couple was reunited in 2007. Their whirlwind romance resulted in a quickie wedding in 2008 at Carey's Bahamian estate, Windermere.

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