The Man You Aim to Be
Words by Anna Kerr
Poppy Ajudha, a South East London singer-songwriter whose melodic, lilting voice melds with a fusion of soul, pop, jazz and funky beats, is the queen of intimate and honest lyricism.
Having dropped the music video for “The Man You Aim to Be” from her latest EP “Patience” a few weeks ago, the interaction between the visuals and the song itself provide a thought-provoking message. The song is wholly focussed on addressing toxic masculinity, Ajudha herself saying in a recent interview that the ‘video … aims to show strength in all the people, both men and women, who are effected by toxic masculinity’.
The first line instantly hits you with this issue -
‘Your masculinity is getting to me/ and i don’t see how it helps you to be, the man you aim to be’
- the beautiful funky rhythm softening the piercing truth of her words.
The lyrics are carefully constructed to appeal to both women and the men within this complex issue, approaching it rationally rather than in a condescending or patronising manner. She questions why we don’t ‘teach boys how to be’, and tells men not to ‘simplify [their] emotional intellectuality’, encouraging men to allow their vulnerabilities to be revealed and to teach others around them. Although the song clearly comes from a place of anger, her pragmatic angle allows men to access the song rather than writing it off as a ‘feminist attack’ - an unfair and age old critique on women who use their voices against the patriarchy.
Ajudha questions the male listener, ‘confident and bold as i can be … do I intimidate your insecurities?’, hopefully provoking the male listener to think, question and perhaps correct their perception of confident women. Entwined with this narrative appealing to men to express their vulnerability is an equally powerful message of female empowerment, capturing her key message of bolstering both women and men to achieve true feminism and equality. Throughout the song she does not falter and allow the male ego to affect her own assurance in her femininity, serving to inspire the female listener; yet keeping the firm stance not to blame modern men for the existence of the patriarchy - just encouraging them to think.
Throughout the song she does not falter and allow the male ego to affect her own assurance in her femininity, serving to inspire the female listener; yet keeping the firm stance not to blame modern men for the existence of the patriarchy - just encouraging them to think.
The whole song emulates the feminine - its energy and intellect acting as a reminder for the female listener to feel beautiful and empowered in the face of patriarchy. The song delivers a message which hopefully encourages people to seek better gender relations, serving a contemporary commentary of the problems which currently exist - seeking to subvert the constraints in place.