Since the success of her 2008 hit single “Bust Your Windows” off the freshman record, Fearless, fans have been clamoring for more Jazmine Sullivan; however, despite wild popularity including a feature on Glee, she’s neglected to release a follow up, forcing those of us thirsty for more Jasmine to search elsewhere. Today’s video is a gem from her past.
It depicts an 11-year-old Jazmine Sullivan as “Dorothy” in her East Hill Elementary School production of The Wiz. “Home” – as musical theater enthusiasts undoubtedly know – is the curtain-crashing final number and has been sung by Stephanie Mills (Original Broadway Cast), Diana Ross (1978 Motown/Universal Film), and even Whitney Houston in her infamous seminal appearance on the Merv Griffith Show in 1983. There is a magic in the performance of young Sullivan, though, which transcends the poor video and sound quality, the tracked accompaniment, and the modest budget of the production. Her delivery defies these limitations to rank her among the powerhouse divas that have come before.
Although some disparities exist thanks to L. Frank Baum’s vague omission, scholars conclude after a century of debate that Dorothy Gale’s age in the 1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was most likely 11. Coincidentally, that is the age at which Jazmine Sullivan was captured singing in this video, and if synchronicity isn’t enough to impress you, the vocals will.
If the first 1:50 are simply remarkable vocals for a gospel-influenced young Philidelphian girl from the 1990s, what follows is the stuff of legend. The complexity of her vocal riffs is jaw-dropping, the effortlessness of her timbre is astonishing, and the modesty of her performance stature is humbling. Search performance videos of young Beyonce, Lauren Hill, and just about anyone else, and you’ll see that by comparison, Jazmine Sullivan had her talent at an age where most simply rely on cuteness, costumes, and family support.
It’s time that Jazmine Sullivan came back out with a sophomore release — because as this video attests, when you’ve got it, you’ve simply got it.