A couple of months ago, I was watching an interview with Michaela Angela Davis. In it, she discussed the images of black women and how black women specifically, but black people in general advance the culture–as in pop culture. When you look at the history of American music, you need look no further than Jazz and then Hip Hop to see that this is true. But aside from music, blacks have contributed to the national lexicon as well. If you don’t believe me, check out the following words.
This word, referring to the way light hits flashy, often gaudy, jewelry, was first made popular in 1999 when BG and the Cash Money Millionaires released a song by the name of “Bling Bling.” When you think about it, that’s pretty clever. This ideophone, a word or sound(s) that describes a complete idea, undoubtedly led to the word’s popularity and staying power. Before you knew it every other rapper was using the phrase and then it really took off when mainstream artists started saying it. Eventually it was added to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in 2002 and the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2006. Politician and two-time presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney even used it in 2008, at a campaign event.
In researching this story, I actually forgot how great “Bling Bling” was, so just in case you need a refresher course as well, here’s the video that started it all.