Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet 16

I was sad to learn about the passing of rapper Special One of the group Conscious Daughters. I loved their song "We Roll Deep." Then again, in the early to mid-90's I loved any song that had the word Jeep in the lyrics. "We rolling deep/So bump it in your Jeeps/Cuz you know we rolling deeper than most..." That hook used to have me so excited as I listened to it at a moderately loud volume (for my mother's house anyway) on Rap City. I couldn't wait until I got my own Jeep so I could "bump" songs in it. When I turned sixteen I was going to have the hottest Jeep ever. It was going to be red with black tint and gold chrome. Yes, sixteen was going to be a fabulous age.

Listening to "We Roll Deep" after learning of Special One's passing took me back to the first time I heard that song. I was about to turn twelve, the awkward age where you're no longer a child but still not a teenager. The teenage years seem magical. Within them there was the most important age life had to offer: sweet sixteen. That was the year I was going to get a huge party where everyone I knew was going to congratulate me on being awesome for so long. That was the year my mother was going to allow me to wear makeup. More important than any of that, though, I was going to get my learner's permit and my driver's license. Because I planned to be the most awesome sixteen year old in this lifetime, I would get my license and permit on the same day. The next day I would get a car. I had to pace myself. After all, the DMV closed at 4:30, and the car dealerships closed at 5:00. A half hour wasn't going to be enough time to get my Jeep painted and detailed. I'd probably have to get the rims ordered too, and that would take at least an hour.

The pre-teen years, what a time! A time when the sky was the limit. A time when I was too old for dolls, too young to do anything but look forward to when I turned sixteen. When I turned sixteen I was going to have my first boyfriend. He was going to look just like Larenz Tate's character Andre on the short-lived TV show South Central, and I was going to wear and look fabulous in sundresses like his girlfriend Nicole, played by Maiaa Campbell. We were going to ride around town in my Jeep, and everyone was going to stare. Of course, they wouldn't be able to see us thanks to the dark tint. They'd only be able to marvel at the splendor of my vehicle. And it would be sunny and hot every day of my sixteenth year because GOD knew how badly I needed to show off. My boyfriend was going to be as smart as Dwayne Wayne from A Different World. He was going to be fully supportive of everything I did, even though he was going to have his own thing going on.

By the time I turned sixteen I was going to have a double platinum album. It was going to be written and composed by me. All artwork was going to be a product of my own phenomenal photography. All of my videos were going to be choreographed by me, and Jermaine Dupri was going to be the producer. At this time I was going to be the youngest person to come out with a magazine, Go Girl magazine. It was going to feature only brown and dark skinned women. And Aaliyah, because, well, Aaliyah had nothing to do with my color complex issues, and Aaliyah was the greatest thing ever.

At the same time that I was on Video Soul performing every song on my album in front of Donnie Simpson and Sherrie Carter, I was going to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a Newberry Award. Howard University was going to be so impressed by my grades that they were going to wave my necessity to complete the eleventh and twelfth grades and let me take classes there and join the sorority of my choice.

It's funny what memories a song will trigger. That simple line, "So bump it in your Jeeps," reminded me of how much passion and ambition I used to have. It's important to tap into this from time to time. Childhood ambitions rejuvenate you. I accomplished none of the things I aspired to. Some of them were impossible, seeing how I dance like I'm having an uncoordinated seizure, and I sing like I should only be singing in the shower or in the car. Some of those things should have happened and still could. Being that gas costs what it does now a Jeep would be the dumbest mode of transportation to choose, but remembering when I wanted something and just knew nothing could stop me from getting it just gave me a jolt of energy. Sweet sixteen may be long gone, but the drive doesn't have to be. I still can have everything on that list and more. Don't worry. I'm not dropping an album. Right now. Or maybe I will...

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