Returning from yet another hiatus, Norwood's fourth album Afrodisiac was released in June 2004, amid the well-publicized termination of her short-lived business relationship with entertainment manager Benny Medina. Norwood ended her contract with his Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment after less than a year of representation following controversies surrounding Medina's handling of the lead single "Talk About Our Love", and failed negotiations of a purported co-headlining tour with R&B singer Usher. Despite the negative publicity, Afrodisiac became Norwood's most critically acclaimed album, with some highlighting the "more consistently mature and challenging" effect of Timbaland on Norwood's music, and others calling it "listenable and emotionally resonant", comparing it to "Janet Jackson at her best." A moderate seller, the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, and received certifications in the United States, Europe and Japan. "Talk About Our Love" reached number six in the United Kingdom, but subsequent singles failed to score successfully on the popular music charts. Later that year, she guest-starred as Gladys Knight in the third-season premiere of American Dreams, in which she performed "I Heard It Through the Grapevine".
Jenny: I feel like I hear indie rock where women are super emo, talking about feelings, singing sad songs...and honestly, I sometimes like that stuff. But it felt special to hear this album, R&B, with like 808s and boom-bap drums and hip-hop beats, where a black woman was being intensely vulnerable, showing insecurity, not asking or expecting herself to have anything fully processed...and it sounded, idk, like super BLACK. It feels like important representation. A reminder that we contain multitudes. 2b1af7f3a8