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Old School

We are approaching the 20th Anniversary of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing movie release.  According to Essence Magazine, this movie put Brooklyn on the map.  Not sure about that, but flashing back to the summer of 1989 made me nostalgic. In an effort to ride that nostalgia wave, this past Saturday I went to an “Old School” party.  I learned several things at this event, the first being:  Old School is definitely a relative term.  What is Old School to a recent college graduate is definitely not that same as what someone that matriculated in the mid-90’s would consider Old School.  I also learned that the older men are, the less intimidated they are by height!  Another fun fact: the older you are, the more inclined you might be to pull out outfits from your Old School era.  Yes Epiphanyblog I saw a sequined beret circa 1976 at that party.

It was a fun night though.  I enjoyed watching the songs that really got people on the floor.  Frankie Beverly & Maze (Before I Let Go), was a definite crowd favorite.  The Michael Jackson run was fabulous and this song in particular made everyone happy.

Old School music seems to bring out the lighter side in most people too.  In an effort to keep it light this week, I pulled out some of my favorite Old School videos for your viewing pleasure.

Madonna is timeless.  She still dances like a twenty year old and every time I hear this song I want to strike a pose.

When I was at the party on Saturday, a group of girls grown women actually reenacted the dance sequence to the below video.  Now I was/am a New Edition fan, but not sure if I would be doing the moves in a ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel.  Sidebar: YouTube would not allow me to post the original video, so I had to settle for this live version.  If you want to look up the old video for yourself, please take a look at Ralph Tresvant in the stirrups — LOL!

Since I am on the New Edition track, I figured I’d keep it going with this BBD video.  Imagine the humor/horror when two grown men had a “dance off” to this song on Saturday.  Normally you don’t see men dancing too much these days, but the Old School parties must stir something up inside them!

So back to the summer of 1989.  I had a bus pass, my own phone, and cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry were my only real responsibilities.  I had no concept of Corporate America Oppression, and no idea how much being a grown up would suck!  I was exempt from income taxes, and my summer job was FUN!

Old School is always COOL! I love it because it instantly transports me back to a time and place I almost forgot about.  Every now and then I do a blog like this and we share our stories and laugh about our bad hairstyles and acid washed jean suits. Even though we are all grown up with lives and families and jobs and tax obligations…we enjoy the trip down memory lane.  Tell me Epiphanyblog,  why do you love Old School?


June 11, 2009 Posted by | Fun, Music, Old School | 4 Comments

The Stanky Leg

As if I didn’t already think Wal-Mart was the root of all evil, I am totally convinced now!  I agreed to do a friend a favor before I realized it would require going to my local Wal-Mart.  It was too late to weasel out of it, so off to Wal-Mart I went.  I thought I was mentally prepared for the tomfoolery that was bound to ensue, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would witness a spectacle such as a Stanky Leg “dance off” in the vestibule!

I am not sure if this god-awful “Stanky Leg” song has infiltrated everyone’s airwaves yet, but if it has not…count your blessings.  The song is horrible, and the dance is even worse.  It is basically a stripper recruitment theme song.  Granted dance songs are usually kind of lame with their lyrical content, but that is not my issue with this particular song.  As previously stated, it is the soundtrack for all aspiring pole dancers, and therein lies my issue!

So I am walking into Wal-Mart and there is a group of teens standing in the doorway listening to music.  My first thought was, “why are they blasting the music from their boom box in the Wal-Mart”, but then again it’s Wal-Mart and apparently anything goes.  My next thought was “Oh God not this mess”, once I realized it was that Stanky Leg song.  The two girls were apparently doing their best Stanky Leg while their three male friends looked on and captured the festivities on their camera phones.  What is this world coming to when teenage girls can record their stripper audition video’s in the Wal-Mart vestibule?!?!?!

I was very repulsed!  These girls were maybe sixteen, and found it socially acceptable to dip and gyrate in that manner.  I don’t have daughters, but I have cousins and the thought of any of them doing this nonsense really annoyed me.  I kept it moving and successfully resisted the urge to snatch one of those little girls up. As I stood on line in customer service I thought back to the kinds of dances I thought were okay to do in public when I was a teenager.  Nothing we did in the eighties can compare to the Stanky Leg.  Granted at the basement parties there might have been some slow dragging, bumping and grinding going on….but not in the Wal-Mart vestibule.

What has this world come to?   Am I the only person thoroughly repulsed by the spectacle that is the Stanky Leg,?  I must admit I was surprised by the number of grown women I recently saw in the club doing the dance.  Grown people have a right to do whatever they want, but for every teen girl doing the Stanky Leg, is there a stripper pole and pair of clear heels in her future?

The song sucks, there is no question about that, but the kids are doing it. In Jersey we used to have a commercial “It’s 6 o’clock do you know where your child is”. My question this week Epiphanyblog…is YOUR child doing the Stanky Leg?  Are you sure?

March 26, 2009 Posted by | Children, Hip hop, Music, Opinion | 11 Comments

Let There Be Dance!!!

Back in the day I loved Michael Jackson.  I had too many of those stupid buttons pinned on my jacket and I loved the poster of him in the yellow outfit!  So I’m sure you can imagine my uncontainable glee when I heard there was a “Thriller: The Musical” in the works.  How excited am I?!?!?! If you were a child in the 80’s you have to know what I’m talking about!  Here is my first question, why exactly were we so fascinated with Michael Jackson?  He pretty much put the Jherri Curl on the map, right?  Yes, Rick James may have had his curl first, but how many young kids were checking for Super Freak back in 1983?  We loved Michael Jackson.

I remember watching that video a billion times, and yes I memorized the choreography.  Don’t front, I know I am not the only person that was getting her zombie dance on!  In the spirit of honesty, how may of you wore a curl, moon-walked around the house, or could do the entire dance from MJ’s performance of Billie Jean on Motown 25?  Now we are working on the honor system here, but I know at least two people reading this blog had a curl, and I will call you out if you don’t confess!!!!

It breaks my heart that kids today only have the Souljah Boy, Laffy Taffy, and Pop Lock and Drop it videos to emulate.  Believe me, we won’t be seeing those on Broadway in 2024!  Why is it that kids don’t dance anymore?  The 2600 Atari and Commodore 64 could only hold your attention for so long, and then you had to break out in dance.  If you weren’t doing Michael Jackson moves you were probably somewhere perfecting your head spin for the next break dance competition.  Have the Wii and PlayStation ruined the good dance sequence forever?

Today I watched the video…just to see how much of the choreography I remembered.  While searching for it on YouTube, I found tons of Thriller remakes, the funniest of which is the inmates at the prison in the Philippines doing their version of the dance sequence.  While some considered the whole thing unethical, I found the entire display hilarious.  The world was obsessed with Thriller.   I am posting a few video links below, and I hope they will help you reminisce about a simpler time.   When I think back, I was only 9 when the Thriller video premiered, so it’s easy to see why I was so impressed.  You can only watch Thunder Cats, The Great Space Coaster, and Inspector Gadget for so long, right?

If you can look past all of MJ’s recent legal woes and apparent lack of common sense you have to agree his talent was a force to be reckoned with.  He transcended race, gender, and age.  Grown women were in love with Michael.  Men wore Jherri Curls, and glitter gloves…and I don’t even need to mention the scenes in China of all those kids falling out and crying hysterically when Michael took the stage.  That Beat It video (yeah I knew that dance sequence too), Bad, Smooth Criminal, Remember The Time, et al raised the bar for music videos.  I just wish I knew who lowered it!  They say this Thriller on Broadway show will contain a lot of Michael Jackson hits.  I heard mention of Beat It and Off The Wall…all I can say is LET THERE BE DANCE!!!!!!

Seriously though, for those that watched the clips, or can even remember the video from back in the day, this question is for you…what is/was it about Michael Jackson’s Thriller that made it such a phenomenon?  Do you think this Thriller: The Musical could put Michael back on top?

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Celebrity, Entertainment, Music | 9 Comments

Are You Kidding Me???

The best part about having a blog is that once a week I am allowed to get up on my high horse and pontificate on a topic of my choosing.  I’ve been told my blogs are a little “girlie”, but I’m a girl so it’s to be expected.  I try to keep it light, but every now and then I have to vent.  So having said that…. Are you kidding me, re: R. Kelly.

How is it that this man still has a career?  To everyone out there that still enjoys listening to his music…..Are you kidding me?  To every DJ out there still spinning his records, and every artist still putting him on their tracks…..Are you kidding me?  How can anyone in good conscience still support this man’s career?  He’s a sick fool with some sort of God complex.  He was feeling himself so much that he had sex with minors (yes I put an “s” on the end of that word because we all know that girl was neither the first or last), and thought he would never get caught.

First of all, R. Kelly is not even all that cute. He stole Aaron Hall’s style (yeah, I said it). Yes he is talented, but from what I hear is ego is ridiculous.  The last few songs he’s written for himself have been garbage.  His collaborations are okay I guess, but who collaborates with a pedophile?  How do you knowingly associate with a man guilty of such atrocities (yes, a grown man peeing on a little girl can be considered an atrocity)! 

We’ve all seen the tape.  Or at the very least we know someone that knows someone that has seen the tape.  We know that is “Kell’s” all up and through that mess, but he has the nerve to use the defense of “it wasn’t me”.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME????????  He could have said he didn’t know the girl was underage…..still a lie, but much better than five years of the “it wasn’t me” defense.  I guess it just goes to show you how arrogant he really is. 

A witness testified last week about how she started having relations with R. Kelly when she was seventeen.  Apparently after several months of sleeping with him, she was invited to a ménage with “Kell’s” and the underage victim at the center of this current controversy.  Per this witness there were three encounters between herself, R. Kelly, and the underage victim.  Did I mention they were all recorded as well?  This man is sitting at the table day after day with the “it wasn’t me” defense.  He has let this mess drag on for five years knowing he had been getting his Francis Ford Coppola on in front of people other than the victim…. Are you kidding me?????  Then to add insult to injury he decides not to testify in his own defense.  What kind of man accused of rape/inappropriate sexual contact DOES NOT testify in his own defense…..a guilty one I guess! They need to throw him under the jail when this is all over!

I am not even going to talk about the scandal of him trying to buy his brother off, or the most recent hot mess-ness of him getting with the young daughter of his business associate.  While that girl was of age, it still screams inappropriate!  Ladies, can you imagine the fallout of dating a friend of your father’s when you were in college?  Are you kidding me…..what kind of man does that?  Like I said R. Kelly is obviously mental.  He is sick, and I pray he is found guilty and sent immediately to jail.  Men, help me out, let’s say you were accused of having sex with a minor and there was a video of said escapade.  If you knew you really did not do it….could you sit in a trial AND NOT defend yourself?

In the mean time, so many people are still supporting him and buying his music.  I heard a radio personality over the weekend say he “hopes R. Kelly can get out of this mess”.  Are you kidding me?????  Society is so quick to judge hip hop for the misogyny and violence in their lyrics, but at the end of the day we all know majority of rappers aren’t pedophiles.  We quickly boycott a song/artist because we deem something he sings about to be inappropriate, but what about R. Kelly.   His whole existence is inappropriate.  His lyrics might not be as bad, but his lifestyle sure is!     

People snap and sway to his music with no regard to the crimes WE ALL KNOW he has committed.  Are you kidding me?????  He topped the charts with I Believe I Can Fly.  Yeah he believes he can fly right over the criminal justice system.  To everyone still stepping in the name of love at the grown and sexy parties, and to everyone still buying his CD’s and going to his concerts……ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  Michael Vick was tossed in a federal prison with the quickness for dog fighting, but sex with minors apparently is a lot less repulsive to some.  Number 7 lost his job, and countless endorsements, but “R” was able to make fifty eleven Trapped In The Closet installments.    Is supporting R. Kelly any different than buying candy from the corner store of a known pedophile?  I know as a community we tend to be forgiving of the misdeeds of celebrities, but shouldn’t there at least be a little contrition on the part of R Kelly?


June 11, 2008 Posted by | Celebrity, Entertainment, Music, Opinion, Society | 5 Comments

Play Another Slow Jam!

When was the last time you listened to a slow jam TAPE?  Better yet, when was the last time you made one?????  I was going through some stuff in my closet and found a bag full of old tapes.  In addition to the Salt-n-Pepa, Shabba Ranks, De La Soul, EPMD, Janet Jackson and Big Daddy Kane tapes there were a few “Slow Jam Volumes”.  (I know I am not the only person that used to make slow jam tapes).  In the current age of CD’s and I-Pods, there is really no need to have a real slow jam “game”.  Everything can be burned to an endless playlist, but if you had to narrow your jams down to 90 minutes of hits, how would you choose? 

Let me start by saying they don’t make slow jams like they used to!  I listened to the tapes I found and I was shocked.  First of all what on earth did I know about there’s a right and a wrong way to love somebody in high school? (Keith Sweat had it going on back in the day).  Now that I’m in my 30’s, the songs have meaning, but back then…what on earth was I thinking?   

Some of the songs I found on my “Volumes” were one hit wonders.  I guess they were the hit of the moment, but didn’t really have staying power.  A lot of them were classics though.  As I pressed fast forward and rewind I found myself picking which songs would make my “Slow Jams: The Grown Woman Volume” tape.

First on my list of course was Adore by Prince….if God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’d still see.  Love’s too weak to define, just what you mean to me.  WHAT?!?!?!     Another classic balladeer was LUTHER.  I would have to have House Is Not A Home on my Grown Woman Volume (GWV).  When that song came on my little tape (with the poor sound quality) I was are you gonna be, say you’re gonna be, are you gonna be, say you’re gonna be, all up and through my house! 

Always & Forever made the cut too.  I was really big on this song in high school for some reason…loving you is a thing that I’ve planned, for a very long time….forever and a day, forever and a day, definitely made the Grown Woman Volume.  When was the last time you came across someone with “Whip Appeal”?  Didn’t quite get it back then, but I have the remix version with all the “snapping” on one of my tapes.  Now I’m a little older and a lot wiser, so Whip Appeal would go on my GWV.

With all the recent legal woes of the Debarge family, it was nice to hear Love Me in A Special Way.  I think that was my second favorite Debarge hit…..cause I’m special, not the average kind, who’d accept any line that sounds good.  So reach into your chain of thoughts, try to find something new….  I used to love that song, and I think if space would allow, it could make the GWV.

Another observation I made while going through my old cassettes…. slow jams were LONG.  Prince, Luther, Lenny Williams…those brothers were trying to sing somebody’s panties right off for real! *cracking up now*.  I Love You by Lenny Williams was over seven minutes long (but I must admit the song would not have been complete without his break down at the end: Maybe you’ve never been in love like I been in love.  Maybe you’ve never felt the things that I felt…but this is what I told my friend I said you know sometimes you get lonely).  I like Usher, and Ne-Yo is cool, but they can’t hold a candle to Lenny!

Does anyone remember Kwame’s remake of Chaka Kahn’s  Sweet Thing?  (It sucked, but apparently I liked it back in the day because it was on one of my little tapes with the poor sound quality).  I think he failed miserably at this attempt to do the I Need Love/LL Cool J thing.  I had a lot of Guy/Aaron Hall hits on my tapes too (Let’s Chill, Tease Me, and Piece of My Love).  

No GWV would be complete without a little Teena Marie and Teddy P.  I loved Casanova Brown and Portuguese Love, but my personal favorite from Teena is a song called Yes Indeed.  I don’t think it was a big hit, but WBLS played it to death in the middle of the night. (If you are not familiar with the song, look it up on You Tube, and you can hear it…trust me it’s a CLASSIC!)

Regarding Teddy P, the list is endless.  Close the Door, Turn Off the Lights, and my personal favorite And If I Had (…I would be the best lover that they ever had, cause I need somebody to love me, love me back).  Can you imagine going to somebody’s house and they had THAT SONG playing in the background?  I like Jamie Foxx’s album. His Can I Take You Home was a good song, but it can’t touch Come Go With Me by Teddy.  I am not going to even get started on Marvin Gaye, but suffice it to say Distant Lover (the live version) would make the GWV!

A few other songs that aren’t classics in the Luther, Prince, Teddy sense of the word, had throwback appeal nonetheless. Jodeci, Ready For the World and New Edition would make an appearance on my GWV.  Every now and then I’m sure we all hear Can You Stand the Rain on the radio (if not, look for it on the Wednesday Wind-UP one day soon), but when was the last time you heard Let Me Love You Down?  When was the last time you heard Stay or U&I by Jodeci?  (That Forever My Lady album is a classic for real…especially since the lead singers are someplace very cracked out right now!) 

So here is my question….if you had to narrow down your playlist to a 90 minute cassette tape, what songs would definitely make the cut? When you start picking those O’Jays and Earth Wind & Fire songs, keep in mind they were long, and 90 minutes will go by quick! On your Grown Woman Volume, or your Grown Man Volume, what classics and throwback hits would you include?


September 27, 2007 Posted by | Music, Old School | 4 Comments