I love this movie despite duck lip monotone Taye Diggs because it’s all about a woman who fell in love with Hip Hop. She took that passion and turned it into her work. She took that work and turned it into a book. And yes eventually (spoiler alert) she accepts that he is intrinsically linked to her relationship to Hip hop but that’s just so that they could label the movie a romantic comedy.
Side note – it wasn’t funny unless we are talking about the constant jokes about her massager from Brookestones? Or maybe it’s just me. It was just a black rom.
So anyway the reason I bring it up is because after a long breakup I’ve recently fallen back in love with RnB. As I was saying I wasn’t raised on fairy tales. As a black girl there were no images of black folk in film or TV until The Cosby Show and Different World came along. No instead we had music. So much delicious music on vinyl that you could play again and again.
I started to dream that life was perfect in the states. I grew up listening to my Father’s collection of records which were heavily sexual RnB. It was Marvin Gaye, Clarence Carter, Curtis Mayfield and all the big names of Motown. I was told off for singing ‘sexual healing’ on my way to a first day at a new school. Then they had to console me as they told me that he was dead. I didn’t know anyone who had died at 7 but clearly I felt like these American artists were part of my family.
At 10 I stole the inside LP cover for Lionel Richie’s Round and Round album and memorised it in class. Let’s face it the British schooling system gives children WAAAAY too much free time.
At senior school I was the only child in class who knew the answer to Gladys Knight’s back up group was the Pips. Don’t ask me to name any of The Who or Led Zeplin though. I pretended that I had long hair like Jermaine Stewart as I sang ‘We don’t have to take our clothes off’. And don’t even get me started on Whitney. Those that know me know that she was the older sister I never had.
I watched Get off by Prince and I tried to make the pearly dress for a night out. Or was it Cream?
As I got older and discovered boys I was enveloped in a world of Shai, Blackstreet, Tevin Campbell, Boyz II Men, Silk, H Town, Brian McKnight, Joe and all of these beautiful black male voices. I fell for it. I fell for the happy ever after these songs promised.
Then I discovered that nearly every guy I knew who was aged 16 – 25 had a “get the panties” mix tape of these songs and they were using them to get the panties. Just as I wizened up music changed and was less about sensual sex and was more about fucking. So that is when I fell out of love with it. If we were just going to fuck then give me rock. At least that already sounds aggressive and angry. Why did they have to ruin soul music? Oh I’ve had the odd affair with Robin Thicke, Ne-yo etc but loving a genre like I did for 20 odd years? No. I’ve gone down an eclectic route.
So maybe they lied. No fairy tale tells you what happens after Cinderella and the prince discovered that he wasn’t a big fan of her cooking or wanted a 3 way with one of her ugly sisters. (Shrug – Men and boobs). Maybe I was expecting too much from these songs? They are but less than 4 minutes of perfection. Sadly sometimes longer than sex but that’s a whole other blog.
So a toast to RnB and long may it give hope to those who don’t have love stories around them. Ever wondered why those Back to the 90s nights are so big? Because that’s when many of us women still dared to dream. That’s why. It’s just a shame so many of us stopped daring.
Brown Sugar ladies. Follow your passion
© Chelsea Black