Ain’t nothing like driving down the street, somewhat in a haze, numbly following the routes we drive regularly, when unexpectedly a song filters through your radio and snaps you out of the doldrums and back to a long-gone time. Your ears and your heart simultaneously perk-up as you turn the volume way up and use your steering wheel as a drum-set. Musical magic can alter your spirit and energy faster and cheaper than a double espresso shot from Starbucks.
The New Edition Story gave many of us the perfect amount of caffeine and energy to try moves we had memorized 30 years ago in the middle of our family rooms; and enough sweetness to cause us to fondly reflect on times and people that we haven’t seen in years. Looking back at that period, through the lens of the show, made me think about some of the things that we lost and that I wish we could get back — and a few things that should never, ever come back again.
THINGS THAT WE NEED TO COME BACK
The only thing that could make a large, brightly-colored, funky-smelling room seem romantic was slow dancing in it with your middle school crush. My romantic life started in those gyms with a cute guy’s arms wrapped around my waist (and slowly moving to grab my butt at times when a chaperone wasn’t looking). I hate that kids today don’t have that. Slow dancing should make a comeback.
Slow dancing needs tender, amatory, love-driven music. The slow music sung by men, back-in-da-day was designed to woo women — not a description of how to screw women. The songs told stories of a man’s unrequited love, desire for a woman, love for a woman. Back then, it was okay for a man to openly care about a woman. Ain’t nothin’ more romantic than a beggin’ man. Yaaaaas… tell me that you can’t live without me and that you are lost in love! W ith that type of woo, any woman can stand the rain (don’t even need an umbrella, Boo).
BLACK BOY BANDS
There is something bonding about sitting with your girlfriends and picking which guy in the boy band is “yours.” There is also something special about the blending of different, but equally beautiful voices; coordinated dances and outfits; standout personalities.
Can someone please start the small, neighborhood talent shows again? It would be so much more fun watching local acts compete in an auditorium with your community than being glued to a television set watching The Voice.
BLACK MOMMA’S DEPICTION
We need to bring back shows like What’s Happening, Good Times, Everybody Hates Chris that depict Black mommas as we oftentimes are: so dedicated to our sons even when they are adults, working together as mothers to get through, and tolerating no shit. Boy don’t you see I’m on the phone!
JIMMY JAM AND TERRY LEWIS
Where the hell are they? We need them. Music needs them.
I’ve never regretted a penny that I’ve spent at a New Edition concert because you can tell that they worked tirelessly to create a good show for their fans. Their shows aren’t simply about special effects, but about real performers. I’ve seen some shows from some currently hot artists that make me want a refund. I work hard for my money. I need you to work hard for yours.
BLACK MEN LOVIN BLACK WOMEN
Love is love, I know; but there was something refreshing about seeing Black stars loving, admiring and marrying Black women.
BLACK MEN LOVING EACH OTHER AND MENTORING EACH OTHER
More than music, the New Edition Story is about love.
THINGS THAT SHOULD NEVER, EVER, EVAHHHH COME BACK
CURLY KITS, S-CURLS, WAVE NOVEAUS, ETC.
How many pillow cases were ruined due to this fad? How many people have pictures hidden deep in attics because they don’t want folks to see them during their “S-Curl Phase?” Outside of chitlin’s what stinks more than an old, unwashed curl? Plus, we could never get our curls to look as good as the unofficial Curl-Spokesmodels: Full Force and Ola Ray.
WHITE DRESS SHOES FOR MEN
Maybe there can be an exception for proms and weddings . . . nah, probably not even then.
How in the hell can artists have the number one single in the country, but still be living in the projects? Artists must be compensated fairly for their talent and work.
THE ONE CAT WITH THE BIG EGO
It’s almost a rule that every singing group must have at least one cat whose ego tears apart the band and leaves them ultimately broken. Watching episodes of unsung should be a requirement for all upcoming groups.
MEN IN BIKER SHORTS
If you aren’t going to be riding a bike for more than 2 miles, under no circumstances should a man be wearing biker-shorts. The violation is severely worsened should the Bama pair dress shoes or suspenders with biker shorts.
What BET can bring back are movies done as well as the New Edition Story was done. The casting, acting, singing, open rawness to the story allowed me to escape to an easier time when I was smurfing to “Candy Girl”, slow dragging to “Lost in Love” and whopping to “Poison.” At the end of the three night series, I had to rewind and rewatch a few scenes. Just like when they flicked the lights back on in that dingy middle school gym, I didn’t want the ride to be over.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more