Throwback Thursday: TLC – No Scrubs

no scrubs

When the single NO SCRUBS came out twenty years ago (February 2, 1999), TLC was the best-selling girl group in the world and fierce feminists at a time when the music world was suddenly getting overrun with Lolita-esque divas like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

I chose this song for my Throwback Thursday because when the song came out I loved the message it promoted. For the first time, you had women who were confident enough to say, “NO.” No, they didn’t want a man who had no ambitions and was a deadbeat parasite. And if you think that this message wasn’t bold, you’re gravely mistaken. For centuries women have been groomed to always say, “Yes,” that stating a “NO,” loud and clear, for women to actually have standards of which men could pursue them, this was a big deal.

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Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes were known for being bold, independent, and outspoken young women. They were no damsels in distress, these women were ambitious and hardworking and didn’t expect anything less from their men. This song actually had men questions themselves for the first time, ask themselves if they fit the “scrub” list or not. Ironically, usually, the men who did fit the “scrub” list were the ones who got the most upset over the song.

Of course, this song wouldn’t have been the same without Hype Williams amazing futuristic music video, especially in an age where music videos could make or break a career (this was back in the day when MTV still predominantly only aired music videos on their channel). Hype Williams at the time was considered to be one of the best music video directors around with his bold colours, anime style sequences, and notorious for his fish-eye view which distorted the image in central focus. In his vision, Chilli, T-Boz, and Left-Eye were futuristic warriors that could be both sexy but ferocious, in other words, they were fierce.

The video went on to win the MTV Video Music Award for that year, beating out the all-male competition of boy bands like Backstreet Boys and Nsync at their career highs, which was no small feat.

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Listening to this song twenty years later only emphasizes how much this message is still relevant today. Not that long ago when just idly chatting with my boyfriend in the car, he said he couldn’t understand my need for all this ambition, that he’d still love me even if I were a slob who’d spend all day at home and wait for him to return and he said something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t you love me still the same way if I were like that?” And I replied, “Look, as TLC taught me, I don’t want no scrub. I’d never date someone with no ambition or dreams to be better.” Probably not the kind of response he was relying on (after all, most men would hope that women are “romantic” enough to like them even at their worst), but it’s the truth.

I expect a lot from myself and would never dream of being someone who’s just looking for a way to get out of work to stay at home. So for anyone to think that I’d expect less of them just because out of romantic notions is kind of absurd. TLC taught many girls the power to say no, and that’s a lesson that many of us took to heart. I know I did.

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Throwback Thursday: Angel Heart

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I’ve decided to start a new series, Throwback Thursday. So one Thursday a month I’m going to share my experience of either rewatching, rereading, or relistening something that I adored back when I was a youngster (think between the ages of 6-18) and see if it stands the test of time. So for my first Throwback, I decided to rewatch the 1987 horror film, Angel Heart.

When I told a friend of mine that I saw this movie at six he was appalled (what can I say? My parents were horror fans who knew I was one and watching movies kept hyper me occupied, so there’s that).

So the premise of Angel Heart is that a private detective called Harry Angel, has a new case at hand, to find a man called Johnny Favourite. Except things aren’t quite that simple, and Johnny doesn’t want to be found. Let’s just say that, amongst the period detail and beautiful scenery, it all gets really, really nasty fast.

All I could remember about the movie in question was that it dealt with voodoo, Robert DeNiro was in it, (I also recalled another detail but can’t reveal it as it’s *spoilers*), and that this was one of those movies where Mickey Rourke was hot.

Upon viewing the movie I was like, HOLY SHIT this movie is truly very twisted and no wonder people are shocked I saw this at the tender age of six. This movie has one hell of a twist back in the day before twist endings were a thing, so it was very innovative in that way. The mystery was captivating and the gore factor was high, so if you’re into that, you’re gonna love it (and yeah I’m a creep and love that).

The movie has Angel (Mickey Rourke) traveling from Brooklyn to New Orleans in search of the ever elusive Johnny Favourite (that Robert DeNiro’s character wants to find because he’s got a score to settle with him), only that everyone that knew Johnny begins to die in horrible ways and Angel is made to look like the culprit of those murders when he is not. So will he be able to find Johnny before he gets framed for murder? And will the voodoo queen Epiphany ( Played by a pre-Lenny Kravitz & Jason Momoa, wide-eyed Lisa Bonet) help Angel in his endeavor to find Johnny or is she simply going to bring his downfall? The stakes are high and the mystery is very much intriguing.

I really enjoyed my this movie and think that six years old me had impeccable taste for being so young (and probably was a teeny bit twisted).

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My Bad Romance: The Romantic

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The first time I saw you, you walked right past me and I felt my heart leap out of my chest as my gaze followed you and I said, “Who’s that hot guy?” And my then-boyfriend merely laughed and told me how it was a friend, and called after you. Once you returned, your eyes met mine and just like in some lame rom-com it felt like time had stopped for a moment, minus the cheesy pop song as the soundtrack. We spent the night drinking coffee and talking, and something I’d just look over at you as you spoke animatedly with your friend. When my phone rang, you said, “We’ve got the same ring tone,” later showing me how you too, had the same Franz Ferdinand song. You were on my mind for days after that night. It was impossible for me to fall in love with the boy I was with, because you had eclipsed him completely. How can one love the moon, when you were the sun?

The second time we met, it was a cold December night. I had broken up with my boyfriend. Two Capricorns were never meant to be together, our stubbornness clashing in the most violent ways. We met at a coffee shop, one of the few still open at the dead of night. We drank conspicuous amounts of coffee and tried several cakes. You kept drawing me comic strips of myself. It was bliss.

Then you insisted you’d walk me back to my hotel. It was snowing. Music flowed out from a pub down the street. You grabbed me, insisted we dance. I laughed, telling you it was too cold and you pulled me to saying, “I’ll keep you warm, pretty girl.” The stars lit up your eyes, and I smiled giving in. I still was uncertain in regards to your feelings for me. But then you kissed me, and any doubts I had vanished.

Like most wonderful, charming men, you were taken. Of course, I didn’t know that until after. After many kisses and after my heart was already yours. It was too late then for me to try to pull myself free of this twisted love.

You sent me so many letters after we parted. So many roses that I could’ve adorned a flower shop. You made me so many mix CDs filled with your own music and The Beatles, The Smashing Pumpkins, and various other artists.

The fourth time I saw you, three weeks had passed since our last encounter. But I immediately knew that something was amiss. The THE END was written all over your pale face by the way you grimaced when I hugged you. I knew that you were about to hit me with bad, TERRIBLE news.

I couldn’t stay. I had to get away.

You kept calling me afterwards. Leaving messages, saying how we should still be friends. That we were friends before lovers.

Another month went by before I saw you again.

By then my heart was shattered. But you kept telling me how much you loved me. I was reeling on x to truly understand any of it. I only wanted to smash your heart in smithereens just as you had done with mine. I just wanted to burn anything that you had ever given to me, till there was nothing left but ashes.

“I love you,” you kept repeating, like I was a child who couldn’t understand. “I care very deeply for you.”

I kept shaking my head. It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true, or else I wouldn’t feel so awful. I let go of your hand.

“Where are you going?” you said, as tears blinded me. I walked aimlessly away from you. I wanted so much to stay. But I knew I couldn’t.

You were never mine for me to keep.

By: Azzurra Nox