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The Sweetest Taboo

By September 10, 2018Music Mondays

The Sweetest Taboo

Written by: Sade Adu, Martin Ditcham, 1985 (video)

Performed by: Sade


Diversity Management Concept: Self-Awareness and Personal Development

Welcome back Music and Diversity Lovers to the latest episode of Music Mondays. Diversity DJ here, spinning the virtual vinyl for your listening pleasure.

We’re reaching back 33 years to a “The Sweetest Taboo,” a classic by a smooth operator, Sade.


What is the “Sweetest Taboo”?

First, let’s define “taboo”:

  1. (noun) a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place or thing.
  2. (adj.) Excluded or forbidden from use, approach, or mention

In short, taboos are those things that society has determined are not acceptable to engage in.  

What are some things that are considered taboo when done publicly in the US?

  1. Talking about God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
  2. Kneeling to the National Anthem
  3. Burning the US flag
  4. Swearing
  5. Talking about sex and bodily functions
  6. Cutting the line
  7. Supporting President Trump
  8. Correcting your boss


“You give me the sweetest taboo.”

To do or engage in something ‘taboo’ usually creates feelings of anxiety, fear, apprehension because of the possible blowback or judgment from society. Yet in this song, Sade sings about “sweetest taboo.” How is that possible that taboo can be sweet?

One way is related to the saying, “forbidden fruit is always sweetest.” This implies that the thing or act is inherently evil and that to partake of that forbidden fruit means that you are indulging in an appetite that is best left suppressed. Often this appetite is sexual in nature, though of course not always. This is one perspective of “taboo.”

My perspective of “sweetest taboo” is an expansion of this traditional understanding. If I’m given “the sweetest taboo,” I’m being given an opportunity to break the mold – in any field. I see a chance to reject the limitations that society has placed on me in its defining the standards for “acceptable” and “unacceptable.”  It’s the trigger that can launch me into a new place of freedom and liberty.


Which Taboo To Topple?

I’m not advising anyone to break any and every taboo. I am saying that opportunities will present themselves to you, and you will have to choose whether to embrace or reject those opportunities. That requires wisdom.

And here’s where I’m going to go against Taboo #1 from our list above and talk about God. There’s human wisdom (an understanding that comes from man) and divine wisdom (an understanding that comes from God). You can choose which you want to follow. But my personal preference is to go with divine wisdom to discern which battles to fight. For me that means relying on the Holy Spirit for direction. Whomever you may prefer to seek, I believe that divine input is required to


Rule Breakers

Below are a few people who accepted their “sweetest taboo” opportunities and changed the world:

  • Richard and Mildred Loving: The interracial couple who challenged Virginia state miscegenation laws.
  • Rachael Denhollander: the woman who first publicly accused gymnastics coach Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.
  • Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver: the first women to become US Army Rangers.

What are the outcomes and benefits of being a Rule Breaker and embracing your “sweetest taboo” moments? Stay tuned for answers in our next episode.


Have a tune you think would be good for Diversity DJ to play? Or want to be a guest DJ? Drop us a line in the comments or at DiversityDJ@yahoo.com.

Diversity DJ signing off.

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