Say what you will about Fantasia's recent drama (and trust me, judging from your comments on MTV News articles, I know you all have very strong opinions on the matter), there's no denying that the girl blew the roof off of MTV Headquarters at 1515 Broadway on Monday afternoon (August 23).
It was a special show for MTV/VH1 employees, taped for VH1.com's awesome "1515 Live" series. Typically, the performances are of the acoustic variety (it's filmed in the small reception area of the 20th floor of the building — seriously), but Fantasia brought a six-piece band and her signature pipes. She was ready to make a grand statement.
I have heard a lot of cynics crying foul over the "convenience" of a headline-grabbing suicide attempt happening just weeks before her first album in four years is about to drop. (Her manager’s icky post-suicide statement that crudely promoted said album didn't help, either.) But damned if Fantasia's struggles weren't real and on full display during her brief-but-powerful four-song set.
I snuck down to the 20th floor early and caught her soundcheck. She looked healthy in a short mushroom bob wig that she jokingly called "T-Boz." After a couple half-hearted vocals just to check levels, I saw Fanny swell up with emotion. It was during "Free Yourself," from her debut album, where things got deep. "You're playin' games/ If you don't want me then don't talk to me/ Hey, go ahead and free yourself."
The band transitioned seamlessly into her current hit single "Bittersweet." Five minutes in, the song became a gospel sermon, with 'Tasia emotionally riffing, "I just got to let it go/ I just got to let it be." Cue Fantasia's tears. "I sing it from deep down inside/ I'm tired of the liars/ I'm tired of the lies,” as the backup singers continued, "Just got to let it go/ Just got to let it be."
And that was just soundcheck. The cynics might insist her theatrics are all for show. But would she have gone through the trouble of a "performance" for a soundcheck where cameras weren't rolling and the only eyeballs watching were a small VH1 crew and a ninja "Idol" geek hiding behind a column?
Throughout soundcheck (and later during her taped performance which should be up on VH1.com later this week), Fantasia had a lot of anger towards her man. Most of her riffs revolved around who we could only assume is Antwaun Cook. The singer went out of her way to call her recent relationship "a damn lie." She's been slammed in blogs as a homewrecker, but in front of VH1 cameras, Fantasia painted herself as a victim of deception, eager to shake off a no-good man who did her wrong. Even if her words might be bending the truth, the emotions bubbling to the surface were as raw and honest as they come.
Until I saw her break down three feet in front of me, I too was skeptical about her motives. Why is she in full promo mode two weeks after trying to kill herself? Shouldn't she take some time and heal? Why didn't her team cancel all her appearances and get her in full-time therapy?
But then it hit me. Fantasia's music is her therapy, and she needs it now more than ever.
What do you think of Fantasia's new album? What do you think of her performance? Let us know in the comments!