Time machine to the 90’s: Who’s coming?…
I don’t care what anyone tells me. The 90’s were LIVE. Hands down. Feet up. The road of reminiscence is a long and winding one filled with elaborate memories that make me smile and cringe. Smile? So many prominent moments. Cringe? Let’s not pretend that there weren’t loads of unforgivable handcuff-me-now-and-throw-me-under-the-jail moments! Yes, I’m talking about the fashion crimes *queue facepalm.* I mean skirts over trousers? Skirt trousers. Wow. Who’s idea though? I don’t know why I’m laughing as if I didn’t have at least two pairs. (Why did I just get a flashback of LL talking about the ‘around the way girl’ he dreamed of with the bamboo earrings?) Anyway, after getting my first pair of Reebok Classics, guess what the next ones were? I had them ‘look at me kicks.’ You know, the oversized ones that stay flashing. LA Gears. Unfortunately it weren’t no swooshes around here until I wore those LA Gears out! Those who know, know. Tangent over.
Hands up if you often catch yourself in a nostalgic trance, reminiscing about days gone by, swearing there’s nothing like this, and that things were so much better back in the day? Then having to snap back to life, back to reality? (high five to those who caught the Omar and Soul II Soul references. For the historians, I know it was an ‘89 release but it just fit ok). Guilty? That’s cool. I get it. 100%
Growing up in the UK as a second generation ‘African bubu’ (no racism, that was just the common cuss amongst fellow people especially if your cheese cutter obliterated their conker and they couldn’t take it). Yes, conker fights. All for some Opal Fruits or Jawbreakers… can you imagine? Where you’d literally take the time to source the sturdiest one, find a sharp tool to strategically drill a hole (hoping it stays in tact whilst doing so), then stumble upon a stray shoelace to thread through. Those who know, know.
If I said ‘Woolworths’ you’d probably say (free) Pic n’ Mix right? Lord forgive you for what you did in your youth! Ahh, the 90’s when a child bus pass didn’t even cost £1! You probably got your first phone as you became more independent. A Nokia face off right? Aka 5110 or nk402 depending on whether you were on One2One or Orange. I know. It was straight dialling, texting and Snake only. Those 0171/0181 numbers. Which WhatsApp? Even though technology was trying to come through, the 90’s offered big back computers, floppy disks, VHS and cassette tapes with the MDK on there (some of us even still had typewriters and rotary phones). A simpler time when Tesco was a myth, because it was a Safeway or KwikSave ting.
The 90’s was such a game-changing era, rich with black culture. It was just too vibesy! It saw the emergence of many of your favourite singers and rappers. Destiny’s Child/Beyoncé, Jay Z, Nas. Lil Kim and Foxy who revolutionised female rap with their ‘what did she just say?!’ hardcore lyrics and high fashion. Missy and Timbo. And when No Scrubs dropped?! Whewwwwwww. If after that you weren’t trying to step your game up, you were stanning for the swift rebuttal i.e. Team ‘No Pigeons’.
The 90’s. The era of classic albums (feel free to insert your faves here). The era where Puff Daddy told you ‘10 years from now, we’ll still be on top.’ The era where DMX told you he was Slippin’, falling and can’t get up. The era where Lauryn Hill told you it could all be so simple but you’d rather make it hard. The era where Brandy and Monica told you The Boy is Mine. The era where Mary J. Blige told you to Share my World and said she was Not Gon’ Cry, and you faithfully sang your heart out (strength and esteem snowballing with each note). The era where TLC done told you not to go chasing Waterfalls. Should I continue?
It saw the emergence of your favourite films. Classics. Timeless pieces of black workmanship. Poetic Justice. Dead Presidents. Boyz N the Hood. Strapped. Juice! And I haven’t even scratched the surface.
It saw the emergence of your favourite sitcoms and TV shows. Mo to the, E to the – Moesha, Hangin’ with Mr Cooper, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Parkers, Sister Sister, Kenan and Kel, Desmond’s – where Matthew would constantly remind you of an old African saying. And if you had Sky, Trouble in the ‘00s would show you re-runs infinite. Should I continue?
It saw the emergence of TV personalities. Don’t pretend you don’t remember when Ainsley Harriott was telling you it’s time to rattle those pots and pans?! Andy Peters. Wacky Dave Benson-Phillips of Get Your Own Back fame. Mr Motivator. And how can we not mention Richard Blackwood and his consistency in the game? Should I continue?
The 90’s. Yekini was strong-arming goal nets. Roger Milla was gleefully twerking near corner posts (ok maybe not twerking but he defo had that hip gyration on smash!). Those who know, know.
The 90’s was such an authentic era. The jheri-curl phase dripped its way out. The epitome of fly, I’m talking finger waves, the mushroom, the pixie, layered cuts with a touch of colour. If it weren’t a fresh perm or ponytail, it was box braids with the singed ends. The rat-tail. Hi-top/flat-top fade with a line. The lean. Steps (with pattern if you wanted to stretch that far). Colourful patterned clothes. Oversized gold earrings. Forgive me for a somewhat overstated claim, but the 90’s shaped culture now. Actually don’t forgive me. I said it.
The 90’s birthed your favourite games….consoles…SNES, Playstation, Mortal Kombat. The era where you fully started to discover Blanka, M. Bison, Dhalsim, Sagat, Ryu in Streetfighter’s second release, and would argue passionately over who had the best move. Those who know, know.
Can we really speak of the 90’s without touching upon some key moments?
Institutional racism exposed after the Stephen Lawrence case, and the strength exhibited by Doreen and Neville Lawrence in their steadfast quest for the elusive yet indisputably deserved justice.
Nelson Mandela’s release after 27 years in captivity, and subsequent visit to Brixton. Yes, Madiba actually came to the manor!
The unfortunate nail bombing attack in Brixton…
When Tyson, somehow thought it was ok to snack on Holyfield’s ear. Should I continue?
There’s at least three moments that stand out for you. I’m sure.
I told you the 90’s road of reminiscence is a long and winding one filled with elaborate memories.