#crazysexycool : Why TLC taught me everything I needed to know about being a woman

#crazysexycool : Why TLC taught me everything I needed to know about being a woman

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It was Winter 1992, and I was standing in the doorway of my house waiting for the "alleged" snow to arrive. Growing up in New Orleans, everything was alleged, lol. The previous Christmas, my mom bought me a brand new CD Walkman and there i was, standing in my doorway listening to the newly released "Oooooooh On The TLC Tip". We all know that the best influence you can have starts in the home, but it also helps if those influences are supported by seeing reflections of yourself in the media, and in the arts....seeing people who look like you, and sound like you, excel positively in the public eye, mattered to little kids with big dreams. And I was there for everything Tionne, Rozanda, and Lisa were dishing. As a kid, I was shy, I was introverted, I was nerdy, I was insecure, and I was a tomboy. Somewhere around middle school, when shit got real, lol, I started to slowly but surely break out of that shell. And TLC was saying everything that I was thinking, but I was always too shy to ever say. These three women, so perfectly combined in the manner in which they were, defined modern-day black feminism in the late 20th century, at its best. They taught me that women have voices that matter, and not to get discouraged when those voices aren't heard. Just speak louder. They made me feel both comfortable and ladylike in my sweatpants and my baseball cap. Their music encouraged me not to allow society to box me up in a platform that's over sexualized, and at the same time taught me to be proud about being a female who is comfortable in her sexuality. They came on the scene with messages that were loud and proud, like attaching condoms to their clothes in an effort to promote safe sex instead of irresponsible promiscuity. At the time of the first album, i was too young to understand the full details of some songs like "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", I mean, I wasn't an overexposed child, but I wasn't stupid either. And, to this day, "Oooooh on the TLC Tip" is still very heavy in my rotation because of all of the situations it still gets me through as an adult. When "Crazy Sexy Cool" dropped, I was getting older, starting to have real life crushes (as opposed to just making out with my sisters Al B. Sure poster, lol), and starting to hear stories about girls I knew doing "things" with boys. "Things" that literally made me nauseous because, once again, I was a late bloomer. The young hot boys gravitated to the young loose girls. But, "Crazy Sexy Cool" taught me that balance is everything. I can be sexy without being a hoe. I can be confident without being a bitch. And I don't have to always wear tight clothes to be attractive. Their lyrics got me through my first kiss, my first breakup (and others), friends I've lost, jobs I've lost, and times when I wanted to throw in the towel. When Tupac died, I was devastated. When Aaliyah died, I felt my heart-break. But, When Lisa "Left Eye" died, I felt like a part of me went with her. One of the main reasons why art is so undeniably amazing is because you, as an artist, have the power to touch people worlds away, whom you've never met, and possibly never will, in ways you can never imagine. These three women, and every last bit of their black girl magic epitomized femininity for me. And because of them, I speak louder ❤️

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