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My daughter Dia is turning 14 in a few weeks so I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. Her reply? “I want to see Brandy.” I said, ‘She lives down the street, we could go by her house right now.’ Her reply: ‘No, I’m not ready, I’m not in a cute outfit!’ As she continued to talk about Brandy, I started to sing “Mo-to-the-E to the: Moesha! Dia’s eyes got big as saucers and she yelled, ‘Wait, Brandy is Moesha?!’ This became a teaching moment.
The woman I call my friend is actually an icon. I think I missed it too because she doesn’t act like one. Down to earth, funny and approachable and the best ways to describe her. I took the opportunity to educate my daughter on Brandy’s contribution to entertainment. I told her that she is so much more than Chardonnay on BET’s The Game. When I was growing up Brandy was TV star, reality star, a pop star, a Cover girl, Grammy winner, had her own Brandy doll, and was the first African American to play Disney princess Cinderella.
You can read the rest of Niecy’s dedication to Brandy over on ESSENCE.com. The relationship between Niecy Nash and Brandy is adorable; there is something so beautiful about true friendship. “They say” that it is hard to maintain friendships in Hollywood, but clearly these two are doing a great job.
No matter what you’re doing today, make sure you take time out to stop and play some Prince. The Purple One, born Prince Rogers Nelson, turns 54 today, and doesn’t look a day over 40! The multi-talented musician has been ahead of his time since the ’70s, when he dropped his debut album, For You, and slowly but surely started to change both the R&B and rock game (don’t forget about funk!). So on this day of celebration, we thought we’d find a way to pick six of our favorite songs by a man with a catalog of jams so extensive and amazing. Feel free to let us know your own favorites in the comment section. And if you’re wondering why I picked six…well, I couldn’t pick JUST five and seven would have been doing the most…I know, it doesn’t make sense.
*Sidenote: I would have added all the videos, but Prince isn’t a fan of his stuff being accessible via the “Intanetz.” So attached are links to the songs.
The minute this song drops, who doesn’t stop and start nodding their head really hard? The keyboards, the guitar action, and Prince singing like he got kicked in the gonads–it’s a classic! It’s also one of his biggest R&B hits and a jam that definitely makes you want to head to the dance floor for a bit. And the video, with his hair looking very laid and his clothing at a minimum, is a must-see as well. Good look finding it though, you know he doesn’t mess with YouTube…
“How could you just leave me standing…alone in a world so cold?” Many people have tried to cover this track (Hey, Ginuwine), but nobody has done it like this fella. A stellar track from the legendary Purple Rain soundtrack, the nearly six-minute song is guaranteed to make you dance, and possibly shout (especially around the breakdown). And who wasn’t either lusting or laughing at Prince when he was in the bathtub and then crawling butt naked towards the camera? Such an intriguing character he is.
There are few slow love songs out there that touch me to the point that I feel the need to play it nonstop, but “Adore” gets that reaction from moi. With deep lyrics and messages like, “If God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’d still see…” and the way the song gradually grows through the beautiful crescendo makes it one of those jams that inadvertently takes you to church with each listen. It’s so moving, that while performing the song during a tribute to Prince at the BET Awards, a very pregnant Alicia Keys felt so inclined to climb on top of her piano and jam. Can you blame her though?
A song from the highly underrated Parade album (which was the soundtrack for his panned film, Under the Cherry Moon), “Kiss” is a showcase of the power of some sick acoustics. The track is very minimalist when you compare it to other Prince songs, but maybe it’s his attempts to sing falsetto and the smart, snarky lyrics (“Act your age mama, not your shoe size…”) that make it a must-listen. Plus, the minute it plays at a party, or even on the radio, folks lose their ever-loving mind. What do I think when I hear the song? As Prince would say during the bridge, “I think I wanna dance!”
What you know about this one? Definitely an alluring and seductive track, “If I Was Your Girlfriend” is supposed to be a song about the tight bond and relationship between a woman and her best friend, and a man’s quest to be that oh-so-close to his lady. The “lady” singing the track is of course Prince with his vocals altered to sound like his female alter ego, Camille, and the track as a whole appeared on the critically-acclaimed album, Sign ‘o’ The Times. This is one of those dance-around-in-your-lingerie jams, or better yet, sit-on-your-couch-and-eat-Cheetos bangers too...
But of course. When Prince did this track during the Super Bowl halftime show a few years back, I was pretty sure I was going to cry, but instead, I just threw my cell phone light up in the air in my room and reveled in the awesome-ness of it all (Until the Chicago Bears lost the game, then I was sad.). Some of Prince’s biggest and best hits were with the Revolution, and this one for the movie of the same name is as big as it gets. I mean, the guitar solo, the strings, the lyrics–it’s just all too epic. But then again, so is Prince.
Which jams would you add to the list?
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I can’t tell you how many times my classmates and I used to sit at lunch talking about the latest episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” From Will getting shot to Carlton overdosing on speed and Hilary’s fiance face planting into the ground during a bungee jump proposal, there have been many dark moments on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” that had folks talking. But for the most part, the show was one of the funniest ever. The fact that they could even find a way to make the death of Hilary’s fiance funny at all says a lot about the writing. But enough rambling. You want to know where they are now, and after doing some research (a lot actually, I lost some good sleep hours), I thought I’d fill you in. Per the usual, be ready to click on a few pages.
Of course we had to start with the obvious. Will Smith played…well, Will Smith, the street smart and hilarious Philly teen who moves to Bel-Air and creates all kinds of havoc (and comedy) for his aunt, uncle and cousins. I just loved everything about Will on this show, especially his overly-dramatic side (“Mama noooooooooooooo! *in a high pitch scream*). While the show was going and after it ended, Will Smith became a blockbuster movie star. Post the show, he did Men in Black, I Am Legend, I, Robot, and garnered Academy Award nominations for his work in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. He also, of course, was a music star, releasing the albums Big Willie Style and Willennium. Be on the lookout for sequels for Hancock, I, Robot and another Bad Boys installment. Geez, going to keep milking that one, eh?
In honor of Black History Month, instead of showing off the everyday, regular beefcake dude (as much as we adore them), we thought we’d send some love to the beautiful black men from our history who we would have been breaking our necks over back in the day. Okay, maybe not breaking, but at least on the bandwagon for. Muhammad Ali is one of those guys with his random poetry, fast feet and buff body. Time has passed and we know he doesn’t look like the “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” Ali that people were drooling over 30 to 40 years ago, but the guy still has that charm we all can agree is attractive. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Diana Ross came from very humble beginnings, and grew into one of the most celebrated superstars in the world. We all have our own special brand of star quality that we flaunt in different ways. Just like Diana, we can take those wonderful elements that make us uniquely us and parlay them into the fulfillment of our goals. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that we can make things happen for ourselves, but we always have the power to do so. We don’t have to wait for a helpful mentor, supportive friend, or doting spouse to come into our lives and help us achieve our dreams. While such influence is always good, we must believe that we have the power to achieve our dreams independently if we are to bring our highest thoughts into reality. We can do like Diana did and make it happen on our own. We have all the inner power we need. The time is now to start working.
Do you own independent thing today, Madame Noire lovelies!