Hello Friend and Hello August!
So I did a thing last week. I cleared my entire creative calendar minus Monday Lunch! I decided to pause on curating @BlackWifeLife and TheBlackWifeLife.com until October. And I ended my social media coaching-type newsletter indefinitely.
I sent my writers a message, letting them know my decision, and I needed some time to gather myself together. Before pressing send, I was nervous AF. I didn’t know what to expect. These 10 individuals relied on the community I created to further their passion for writing and curating music.
I felt like I was letting them down.
But I was surprised by the outpour of understanding and grace they gave me. Responding with, “We all need a break from time to time. Take as much time as you need. I will be here when you get back.”
When I pressed send on my final coaching newsletter, I was even more nervous because I had people invest in my knowledge and expertise. I really felt like I was doing them a disservice by ending something way sooner than we all expected. But I had to do it. It was no longer bringing me joy.
After sitting with these feelings for a while, I realized the source of it all came from that coaching newsletter. It drained everything out of me. I wish I would have listened to my gut. It told me, “don’t get into this social media coaching game because it’s not for you.”
But I tried it and learned that while I may be really great at building a brand, following, online communities, and telling stories doesn’t mean I am obligated to teach others. I was much happier when I just helped friends here and there with their social media questions.
So friend, if you ever take on something (or someone) that is not bringing you joy, remember to choose you first. No matter how hard it might seem to cut whatever it is loose. Your peace is worth more than anything you can ever offer someone, or they can offer you.
Let’s get into today’s topics:
Barcelona & Atlanta
Songs you shouldn’t have been listening to when you were a kid
Last week I watched Cradle 2 the Grave on Netflix, and I completely forgot Gabby was in this movie. The same day I caught the tail end of 10 Things I Hate About You on VH1, and who pops up in that movie too, Gabby!
I said to myself, this woman has been in a ton of TV and films, which sent me down a rabbit hole.
Gabby's first television debut was on Family Matters in 1993 at the age of 21, probably playing a 15-year-old because sis is ageless. She was a mall girl that received no credits.
In ‘96, she appeared on Moesha, Malibu Shores, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Goode Behavior.
Gabby did TV until her first movie role, She’s All That, in ‘99. But just before this, she appeared in Smart Guy, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Sister Sister, The Steve Harvey Show, and even 7th Heaven.
I had zero memory of Gabby being in some of these television shows I watched during the late ’90s. Nor did I really remember Gabby being in so many movies and shows that featured speckles of Black actors.
The first Black film she appeared in was Love & Basketball, playing Shawnee, who we all did not like for Quincy. Also, in 2000, she played of our favorite high school movie, Bring it On. Sis was 28, playing like she was a high school cheerleader. Go head Gabby!
I feel like, after these two movies, her film career really took off. She played Morris Chestnut’s girlfriend, who also slept with his daddy in The Brothers, whew what a storyline.
One of my favorite gifs of all time came from her role as Conny Spalding in Two Can Play That Game.
Despite Gabby’s very long career, she never really got the flowers she deserved. Sis has only won 7 awards, with none of them being really major awards.
2001: One to Watch Female — Young Hollywood Awards
2001: Theatrical - Best Supporting Actress for Bring it On — Black Reel Awards
2003: Rising Star Awards — American Black Film Festival
2004: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Box Office Movie for Deliver Us from Eva — BET Comedy Awards
2006: Best Actress for Neo Ned — Palm Beach International Film Festival
2014: Outstanding Actress in a TV movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for Being Mary Jane — NAACP Image Awards
2019: Choice Action TV Actress for LA’s Finest — Teen Choice Awards
I’m glad our good Sis was at least recognized, but she deserves so much more.
What’s your favorite Gabrielle Union movie?
Barcelona & Atlanta Summer Games
Are you watching the 2020 Olympics? I’ve always loved the Olympics. It’s the one time I get to watch various sports that I typically don’t get to see.
This year I am into Foil, Canoe Slalom, and Skateboarding amongst my typical watches — Gymnastics, Track & Field, Swimming, and Basketball.
We were all fairly young when the ‘92 Barcelona and ‘96 Atlanta Olympic games were on TV, but they were filled with some of our favorite athletes of all time and a ton of drama.
Let’s relive a few moments, shall we?
Barcelona — 1992
1992 was the first year South Africa was re-invited to the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after a 32-year ban because it would not declare its opposition to the government’s policy of apartheid.
USA Basketball asked the NBA to supply players for this game. Before this, some rules prevented NBA players from Olympic tournaments, and only amateurs were allowed.
The Dream Team was formed, featuring Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Chris Mullin. This team has been described as the greatest sports team ever assembled.
While Magic had retired from the Lakers in ‘91 after testing positive for HIV, he still played in the games. There were many protestors, specifically the Australians, but he received more support than backlash and said the games were more of a live saver for him.
Of course, The Dream Team took home the Gold!
First games since 1972 that were boycott-free
Atlanta — 1996
The games were held all over Georgia and even other parts of the US. They played a few soccer games in DC, Birmingham, AL, and Miami, FL. Canoe Slalom was held in Tennessee.
Atlanta built Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta to serve as a focal point for the ‘96 games.
Muhammad Ali lights the Olympic flame to start the Centennial Games.
A pipe bomb was detonated at the park during the games, killing two and injuring 111 people.
They say the ‘96 USA Olympic basketball team inspired the formation of the WNBA. In April of '96, months before the games officially started, the NBA approved the concept of the WNBA. 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the sport for women. Crazy right?!
If you’ve been watching the games this year, it’s been rather emotional. Naomi Osaka lighting the torch was a tear-jerker. Simone choosing herself was beautiful. Suni Lee winning a gold medal. The Jamacian’s sweeping the 100m. While our USA men’s basketball team isn’t giving us a ton of hope, the women are still holding on.
The games return to the states, Los Angeles, in 2028, and I can’t wait. Who wants to go?
Songs you shouldn’t have been listening to when you were a kid
Hip-Hop and R&B has evolved, as it should. When I was a pre-teen, I remember I too was listening to music my parents disapproved of.
While I clench my pearls at some of the music kids are singing and dancing to on social media today, I have to think I probably would be doing the same thing if I was their age. The music might sound different and be more upfront, but it’s all the same.
The “vulgar” songs we grew up to made things like sex, one-night stands, and infidelity sound appropriate for a young kid to sing out loud in the backseat of the car.
Take “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men (‘94). A great ballad, right? But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s all about sex. The chorus, which most kids pick up on the easiest just talks about making love and taking off my clothes. I probably shouldn't have been singing that when I was 9.
“Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt-N-Pepa (‘90) was a jam! I actually got in trouble at afterschool care singing it with my friends. The teacher told my mom that me and my friends were singing a very inappropriate song for elementary-age kids, lol.
“I Wanna You Sex Up” by Color Me Badd (‘91) starts by saying, “come inside and take off your clothes.” The beat alone is attractive for any kid; it’s so inviting.
None of Adina Howard’s music was made for kids, but “Freak Like Me” (‘95) was the song we played at summer camp in Baltimore when we use to have secret dance parties in the gymnasium on free days. Y’all remember T-Shirt & Panties??? 💣
In Vol 20, I tell a hilarious story about Ginuwine’s Pony. But we all know this is not about riding an animal.
H-Town’s ‘93 “Knockin’ da Boots” always had the adults switching the channel QUICK. Not surprised this group was on Uncle Luke’s label.
“Nobody” by Keith Sweat (‘96) seems like a ballad, but it’s far from innocent.
TLC’s “Red Light Special” (‘94) starts with lyrics that might not be so bad, but by the 4th line, it’s talking between the lines like shit. “Creep” (‘94) is another one. I remember singing this song when it came on the radio while driving around with my mom one day and her turning her head to look at me like, “what do you know about cheating.” Lol
Silk’s “Freak Me” (‘92), your parents didn’t play this one around you, but you still heard it.
“Nice & Slow” by Usher (‘97) — how could you not listen to this teen heartthrob. He was 19 when this song hit the airwaves.
I mean I can keep going — “Any Time, Any Place” by Janet (‘93), “Freek’n You” by Jodeci (‘95), “California Love” by 2pac (‘96), “Uhh Ahh” by Boyz II Men (‘91), “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do)” by Joe (‘96), “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot (‘92), and anything by Uncle Luke.
The main difference is that songs used coded language and phrases to talk about things kids and teens shouldn’t probably be listening to. Today they outright say Wet Ass Pussy.
It’s popular culture, just like the music back in the 90s. That is why we know all these songs backward and forward.
What’s your favorite song you weren’t supposed to sing when you were a kid?
Xscape: Still Kickin’ It (Bravo) — A lot of tea was spilled on how and why this group broke up that I had no clue about.
Naomi Osaka (Netflix) — A three-part documentary
Well friend, I hope you had fun at lunch. We won’t have lunch again until Sept 6th, so I hope this keeps you full of nostalgia until then!
I love Monday Lunch…. I never miss a newsletter 🥰