Ahh the smell of sweet nostalgia. Or better yet, the gratitude that those days are over. When I think about some of the mishaps of my adolescence, I can’t help but be grateful to have made it past those years of ignorance and bliss. For today’s Throwback Thursday let’s recall some of the highs and lows of the decade where we didn’t have a care in the world but what sneakers to pair with our Ecko wide-legged jeans; that’s right our preteen to teen years.
For me it was the late 90’s-early 2000’s that I entered adolescence (hence the Ecko reference; that brand’s popularity was short lived). Growing up in a small suburb north of Baltimore, everything was Bmore club music better known to the rest of the country as house music, Air Force Ones and Teen Nick. Nickelodeon aired all of the classics from All That to Kenan & Kel. Nelly made it cool to get the stomping in our white on whites and finding a club to legally enter was always the motive. When my friends and I made it to Xtreme’s, a teen nightclub, at age 13 we had made it! Sipping virgin piña coladas and dancing to “Feelin the strength of the rump,” a Bmore club spin on Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Thuggish Ruggish Bone,” you couldn’t tell us nothing. Those rural club days progressed to a larger scale venue downtown and standing outside in the snow in a line wrapped around the building to enter on high school club night.
And of course the boys. A date to homecoming or prom didn’t necessarily mean you were exclusive but made for cute photo-ops with disposable cameras and same-day developing at CVS. In middle school, guys wrote notes as a form of endearment. By high school they were given the house phone digits and by 2002, in my sophomore year I had scored my first pre-paid Nokia phone. Of course with 60 minutes of talk time there wasn’t much romancing going on but just enough to feel important. When I saved up for a Sprint plan my junior year I was so excited. Even more so when I upgraded from the green backlight to blue on my sporty flip phone. That’s when you were ahead of the game.
We got our first taste of social media with the introduction of Black Planet. Not nearly as invasive as its counterparts to follow, the networking site allowed its owner to express him or herself via basic templates, animated gifs, and puffed up bios. I recently located mine and my opening line reads, “I am an intelligent young sista wit goals so I don’t take no shisnit from NOBODY!” A hot mess! But check me out on Black Planet blackplanet.com/answernee3 (I was obsessed with Allen Iverson).
While the days of old bring about a good laugh and smh moment, they are the experiences that shaped us. If it wasn’t for me sneaking into movie theaters to avoid the $6 cover and practicing my freestyles at the cafeteria lunch table, I wouldn’t be the non-rapping, Netflix password grabbing young woman before you today. We have to make mistakes to iron the kinks out and develop into the masterpieces we were meant to be. Oh and to learn to leave those horrible fashion choices like butterfly clips in high school where they belong.
-Renée Nicole Gibson Twitter: disclosednative IG: ms_disclosednative