Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Throwback BIC: Not Gon Cry

"i would stop breathing if you told me to/now you're busy loving someone else..."--Mary J. Blige

If I had had a 12 year-old daughter when Waiting to Exhale hit the scene, she would not have been allowed to read the novel. As for the film, we would have had to have a special "mother-daughter" day to check that out, as there's plenty to explain so that a)her view of men wouldn't be completely tainted and b)I could cover her eyes and pretend she knew absolutely nothing about sex during the racy parts (we all remember ole boy--better known as "the daddy from Soul Food--banging Whitney out on the side of the hotel bed). But regardless of the hindsight I've achieved, my fast behind did both.

I can honestly say that Waiting to Exhale was the first time I felt the pain of being a woman, even though I was years from womanhood when the film was released. As with most black nineties cinema, the soundtrack was a beast, but this Mary single was by far the definitive radio hit and the general standout on the album. It gave us an anthem, no matter what brand of pain we respectively had going on. Recently, my cousin said "you know how we [black women] do it; we go home and break down and do our sobbing and stuff and then we pull it together and go back out like nothing's wrong".

Mary J. Blige got famous off of this dichotomy--the fact that although we often have the most to cry about, we refuse to let the tears flow. And so it is with this single: whether or not you've ever felt that old familiar sting of heartbreak or disappointment, you could always experience it or something eerily like it in the raspy gravel of Mary's alto that always seemed to, ironically, cry.

1 comment:

tyra said...

LMAO at your comment about your grown ass. Somewhere Gwen feels vindicated.

Girl, in true BIC form my Mama gave me the book to read and told me "niggas ain't shit"...she could certainly relate since at the time the novel came out she was still nursing her wounds (yes for those of you who don't know know my daddy left her for a white woman)...