Growing up as a teenager in the late 80s/early 90s shaped the woman I am today. I am PROUD to have actually gone thru that era. Reading about it and living it are two totally different planets. And I ain’t knockin. Ya’ll snapback wearin seedlings can’t help it haha. But discovering it as it happens is like no other. I rocked Ellesse and starter jackets when Salt and Pepa were pushin it, when the Jets did the smurf to crush on you and Anquette was singing I will always be there for you. I went thru all of Janet’s phases WITH her…from Let’s Wait Awhile sportin Guess, Made in the Shades and IOU sweatshirts…to That’s the Way Love Goes with choker necklaces and visible midriffs. Then Monie Love and Queen Latifah came along…and I cut the tops off baseball caps, rocked a ponytail above the rim, wore baggy jeans, baseball jerseys, Air Max 90s and watched housing crews battle it out.
Then Mary J. arrived…the summer I graduated high school, the summer of first love, the summer we didn’t sleep. When it was all about pagers, house parties, pool hustlin, 40s, deuce deuces, fake IDs, puff jackets, tims, polo, nautica, tommy hil. It was the summer of discovering the WHOLE Bay and my world got a little bigger. Boys had to have VERBAL game. Ladies had to be clever. And talkin on the phone was how we got to know each other. Add the Golden Era of Hip Hop and you have perfection. When Mary dropped What’s the 411, I was deep in it. She taught love, heartbreak, style, confidence…and I learned. Learned how to be, how not to be, how to hold myself, how to love myself, how to let go. Thank you Queen of Hip Hop Soul. I am what I am today because of you. So when anyone asks “Ay yo what’s the 411 hon?”. I can truly say “I got it goin’ on hon.”