Donnie is an artist completely out of his time. His “political soul” (as I call it) comes about 30 years too late for the marketplace, but right on time for Black people who are dealing with fresh, different challenges with respect to race, gender, sex and class.
That said, Turn Around (from his debut album, The Colored Section) is the most commercially viable song on the album. This stunning midtempo works on two levels. On the one – it’s about trying to get someone you love to see that you are right there. On the other — within the context of the album — it’s about the classic struggle of Black people to be noticed for everything we are.
The song coasts along on a killer bassline and Donnie’s singing has an urgency that beautifully captures the immediacy of the emotion, that urge to be seen. There’s an element of plea here, but mostly the song really is about self-fortification. Feeling worthy. As the vamp kicks in at the end, you start to understand that, regardless of whether or not anyone turns around, Donnie feels good about himself anyway.