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I’m dying for a love song.

On my way to work today, I carefully listened to the words of Rico Love’s “They Don’t Know.”

The beat was sexy. I was about to drift off into my sexy thoughts and get in to my Mrs. Carter/Crazy Horse Dancer mode when something stopped me dead in my tracks.

The actual lyrics.

I’ll put them at the bottom of the blog. It’s actually worse if you read them. But I found that as I kept on driving,  I kept getting more angry.

I used to rock out to “OPP” and all sorts of songs about ratchet behavior and man-stealing, and still consider myself a classy chick, so I asked myself: “Self, what about this song in particular has you so upset?”

Welp, I do think it’s my three-year stretch of bad dating and no real relationships being formed that last past two months. I can do the chicken or the egg thing and wonder if it’s me or if it’s who I’m picking and why I’m picking who I’m picking. But the nearly 32-year-old who has just had it, and is over it was pissed at this song, pissed at the people who wrote it, sang it and the people who will consume it and love it. I’m pissed for the young women who think as long as a man gives them lavish gifts and trips in return for their bodies, loyalty and silence to be “shared” with his wifey, (who apparently lives under the same terms and conditions as the beloved, discreet side chick, but with the title, and probably the kids) that’s the ideal life.

The funny thing is, there’s nothing new to this. And some women will argue they have given it up for far less on far more ridiculous and unworthy suitors.

In this song, Rico’s lady love meets up at hotels, goes to the all-star weekend, with the latest Birkin bag on her arm. She is prime, on call vagina.

What have I been doing with my entire life? Why didn’t I think to sign up for such a thing?

Oh, Rico would have us believe as he croons, that the situation is puppies and kittens. Two women who know about each other, and (it is implied) are willing to have sex with one another with or without him and everyone is pleased as punch with this arrangement because, they are living the lush life.

This is on the radio.

There are no words of love, there isn’t even the illusion. He says so himself. Because Rico gets a kick out of no one except his wifey even knowing who this girl is. She’s just in the shadows, dressed to the nines, flown to where he is in the G5. He won’t even say, girl if loving you is wrong I don’t want to be right. She’s just something to be used up, and quiet and just take the money and the cars and the stuff. This fool takes it further, and says his name is on her body, so this chick took permanent steps to tat his name on her body, and he says you belong to me. I guess so. She was bought and paid for.

There has always been the concept of bitch, look pretty, shut up and open your legs as long as I’m paying. But in a day in age where women have come so far, gained so much and in a lot of cases actually out earn men, have more degrees, the fact that this kind of music can be so popular, that we say it’s only music, and we don’t demand better, it breaks my heart.

I’m going to have to listen to Stevie Wonder for the rest of the day, to get 4 minutes of Rico Love out of my system. I guess I am getting old. And that’s fine.

“They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know

We be in the same room N’ we don’t ever say shit Let’s  keep it between me and you N’ we cool, ’cause they don’t know

I’m the one you’ll be texting When you be up at cho job  (they don’t know) I’m the one that bought that Benz That’s in your garage  (they don’t know) I’m the reason you don’t stress when shit gets hard And  anything you want It’s all yours (they don’t know)

On your birthday I’m the one who saw yo birthday suit (They  don’t know) That the Birkin bag It bought that birthday coupe (they don’t  know) I keep it all real I ain’t gotta tell lies to you You the only  one who knows, the truth

They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know

We be in the same room N’ we don’t never say shit Let’s  keep it between me and you N’ we cool, ’cause they don’t know

They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t  know They don’t know

They don’t even know I know you You don’t be talking like a  lame bitch You follow the rules but keep it cool ‘Cause they don’t  know

We was at the same hotel Superbowling all star week (they  don’t know) You be acting shy But you chu really an all star freak (they  don’t know) That you got my name tattooed on yo body They don’t know you  belong to me, yeah (They don’t know) bout the cold nights And the secret  island trips (They don’t know) when I be up in that pussy I be calling you  my bitch (they don’t know) They don’t know you like me They don’t know you  like me They don’t even know that I share you, with my wifey

They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know

We be in the same room N’ we don’t never say shit Let’s  keep it between me and you N’ we cool, ’cause they don’t know

They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t  know They don’t know

They don’t even know I know you You don’t be talking like a  lame bitch You follow the rules but keep it cool ‘Cause they don’t  know

You deserve the rewards G5 planes, you deserve the board Tell them other lames They can swerve of course And I swear to God Imma  curve the broads ‘Cause they don’t know Vacations they don’t go You  stay patient and I respect that ‘Cause you know how to play ya post

Them other bitches get antsy That’s why a nigga never  treat’em fancy You get urs off, in Bergdorf While they bargain shoppin on  Delancy You ain’t even tell ya sister Mama thinking you don’t even like  niggas Instagram, you don’t even like pictures That’s why I’m fucking  withcha

They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t,  they don’t know They don’t know

We be in the same room N’ we don’t never say shit Let’s  keep it between me and you N’ we cool, ’cause they don’t know

They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t  know They don’t know

They don’t even know I know you You don’t be talking like a  lame bitch You follow the rules but keep it cool ‘Cause they don’t  know They don’t, they don’t know They don’t, they don’t know ‘Cause  they don’t know”

Read more:  Rico Love – They Don’t Know Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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Inspiring Transformations, Thanks Chrisette Michele

I get inspired by people, music, books, art, fashion, like all the time.

It’s one of the things that reminds me that life is beautiful. Like really, really beautiful. And being different, and weird and smart and funny is awesome. It’s just fantastic.

So, in today’s post, I want to give a shout out to the supremely talented Chrisette Michele. I’ve seen her numerous times live, and there’s a part of me that feels very compelled to be proud of her because she is basically from the next town over from mine in Long Island. So to see someone so close to home make it, similar in age, etc. it’s already encouraging.

Anyway, Chrisette is my muse today. I’m listening to her latest mixtape inspired by Audrey Hepburn. Chrisette, has gone through some changes yall. You can see that she’s moving in a different direction, and you can hear it in her music. It’s pretty refreshing.

I love contemporary artists who have studied music. They bring something else to the table and they are always trying to elevate the craft, and if you love music too, you can pick out certain nuances, or see where they made a nod to something in their work. To me being able to see and hear those things is exciting and a testament to my own growing knowledge.

She’s lost some weight (I believe 30 pounds she said in a video she posted), she spent extensive time traveling, and she’s rocking a range of hair styles and has a number of tats and a nose ring.

A total departure from the sugary sweet girl image from her first, heavily Jazz-influenced, “I Am.”

In a video interview, she said she didn’t want to sing sad songs anymore because she wasn’t in that place any more. She’s opened herself to love, and she’s just generally happy.

She’s clearly a woman on a journey and she’s enjoying the ride.

For some reason, we give celebrities the pass to go and change their hair, or take a break and travel and change up their style.

I’m a firm believer, regular folks can do the same.

I’m tickled that one day I’ll rock a bun, or a curly wig, or my fro, or twists. My co-workers seem to be waiting to see what I’ll do next.

I’m strongly considering some braids in the summer. Why not?

I realized I have a busy weekend. Tonight I’m going to a Wizards basketball game with my homeboy.

Friday, going to see one of my favorite musicians, Bilal. Saturday, I’m going to check out an art exhibit on graffiti art with a new meetup I’m joining. And then one of my dearest friends is popping in on Sunday.

We have to keep striving for new in our very contrived, average days.

That’s why I need to read books and seek out independent movies, or see shows and take in live music.

I need this stuff like air.

I must have intellectual and ridiculous conversations with people who stoke those interests.

I need to meet new people.

These things make you feel alive.

These things inspire me to create. Maybe I’ll finally finish writing my damn book or come up with a new t-shirt concept.

It’s all out there.

The old, the new.

Old movies, movie stars, music, books. Rediscover them. Then marvel at how human nature never changes. Examine how old writers complained of the same things we complain of today.

What struck me most was when Miss Chrisette said plainly in the interview, “I didn’t want to be an angry, black woman anymore.”

It was so simple, and it was a thought I had the other day.

Believe it or not, it’s easy as hell to fall into that dreadful stereotype. But can we be honest, for a moment? There are a lot of angry women of all colors, not just black.

There are a lot of just angry people out there.

But for some reason, black women tend to hold up the banner and wear our anger and our ability to live with and accept anger as a lifestyle so effortlessly, like badges.

And that, I believe is what Miss Chrisette, and myself are trying to escape.

I’m going to work on smiling more. Just smile.

Even when I force myself to smile during a workout, it actually helps me get through it. I think I look stupid, but it doesn’t matter, because it actually helps.

Impromptu Poetry: As the Smoke Unfurled

As the smoke unfurled,

I found myself laughing. Smiling.

We talked about love, we talked about sex, we talked art and argued politics. We talked about the things in between.

What was left?

You said I was uptight.

I said you were too unserious, and what a pity. What a mighty man you could be.

All that mattered to you was the moment.

All that mattered to me was the future and being ready to meet it.

As the smoke unfurled you showed me how to slow down.

You slowed me down.

Slow down, just listen to the music.

The smoke surrounding me, you told me to just breathe slow, listen to my heartbeat.

And soon, you couldn’t tell me that sound wasn’t one in the same.

In sync with yours.

You taught me to play poker, the kind for clothes.

I was a quick study.

You were down to your socks and a smile.

I, in a bra and some jeans.

You may have lost on purpose.

You had a tendency to never show me your hand.

Our time was short. Intense.

As the smoke unfurled, we’d sit and let the music play and intertwine with the funky fog. I hated the smell, I liked you and the feeling more.

It was a habit I was never really fond of, but for whatever reason with you it was kind of sexy.

With you, I got to be the bad girl I knew I always was, deep, deep down.

Your lips were rich with my secret.

When the smoke left my lungs, stung them with the burn, I was someone else, yet so familiar.

Exhale.

Free.

Exhale.

Another me.

You saw that other me I refused to show.

You saw that other me I refused to know.

You made me do it.

Nah, I went willingly.

I wanted you to take your art more seriously.

You showed me I didn’t take fun seriously enough.

I miss you now when I hear certain songs play or smell that smell in the air. Sometimes I even get a craving.

I think it’s more you than the smoke and the connection I’ve made between the two.

The sensory memory is insane, like smelling an old sweatshirt or cologne or shampoo, but when I smell the ooh wee, it reminds me of you.

Our paths have diverged.

Fates forever changed.

I went for the sure thing, and that ruined me in the end.

When the morning would come and the smoke would clear, I was back to my old, uptight self.

I was again impatient, you weren’t what I thought you were supposed to be and as usual, you were doing it on your own damn schedule.

We’ll never return to those hot sticky, smoke-filled nights, with scattered playing cards on the floor. Our games left unfinished, but somehow we both managed to win.

I’d like to think I helped you grow. I sure hope you haven’t lost your light.

Because when I see smoke unfurl at night,

I remember I still have mine.

 

Cleaning Closets and Musical Reunions: This Is Kind of an SWV Album Review

This post is kind of random, as all of my posts are really.

In preparation for a charity clothing swap this weekend, I took to my closets and attempted to purge.

I think I did a great job.

I finally let go of some stuff I swore I’d fit into if I lose like 30 pounds in the next four days.

I let go of barely worn shoes that hurt my feet too much, that were collecting precious space on my shoe rack and collecting dust.

I amassed far more than the five pieces everyone is expected to bring and that made me feel good.

It also made me feel good to pull out these old clothes and the memories and adventures attached to them (from as far back as college and high school).

I even managed to unearth a vintage USA Grant Hill Dream Team Olympic Games Jersey from the ’96 games. Gee whiz. I’m keeping that.

I also got to retire one of my most scandalous and infamous club tops.

I was laughing hysterically at some of this stuff, meanwhile I was not only giving away the tacky, but some lovely summer dresses and my first boucle suit (every classy woman must own a Chanel-inspired boucle suit).

This purge made me think of old friends, boyfriends, fun times, mischievous times and big mistakes. I wasn’t sad to see these clothes go, I actually felt great, because now I can either get new clothes at the swap or buy some without guilt. Whoo hoo!

What makes my spontaneous late night closet cleanse even more fitting, is the fact one of my favorite R&B girl groups of the 90’s, SWV dropped their new cd today. From articles I’ve read, I think their last album was 15 years ago.

I will never forget how I felt when “I’m So Into You” came out. It always made me dance and just get dizzy from the prospect of what the hell it will feel like to fall for someone and have them like me back. Then “Weak” was the super love jam of the 90s and that beat from “Anything” sent the summer parties into a frenzy. Hearing Coko belt “Anything you want me to do, I’ll do eeet” was the part everyone waited to get to. That song and Nate Dogg and Warren G’s “Regulators” were the only reason folks bought the “Above the Rim” soundtrack.

I’ve been listening and sampling and the first couple of songs from “I Miss Us” successfully took me back to Long Island summers, Hot 97, roller skating and crushing on the track star, and going to watch boys play basketball. As the cd went on, to my delight in addition to doing those songs they do so well, they were also singing the grown woman stuff I could relate to right now. I don’t foresee it being the best-selling album ever, but the die-hard fans who miss feeling butterflies and passing (paper) notes are going to put this on repeat. These ladies have been through some things, they are mature, but they still have a sugary sweetness that makes you want to round up the crew, get a karaoke machine and crash a high school talent show.

Here’s to the old, the new, the mortifying things of your youth that make you fall out with laughter now.

Here’s to SWV and their latest. Co-Sign. Well done ladies. Yall cover of Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew.” Lawd. And Coko ain’t the one going in at the end. This album erre body is sanging lead. That’s what’s up, Lelee and Taj!

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