Back in the day, I was obsessed with Madonna. My Dad mockingly called her Ma-Doo-Doo.
Me: “Can I play ‘Lucky Star’ on the stereo?”
Dad: “No, and stay away from the stereo.” [Sidebar: Why did he always think I would break it, yet HE always did?]
Me: While in the car, “Can I listen to Madonna?”
Dad: “Turn off Ashford and Simpson for that Ma-Doo-Doo nonsense? No.”
Me: “Can I record the ‘Material Girl’ video?”
Him: “Not using my tape. And you better not break the VCR.”
Then came the performance where Madonna rolled around in a wedding dress. And so Mom joins with comments about how black women aren’t allowed to act like that. I wondered why she said that with pride instead of regret. So rolling around in a short wedding dress wasn’t on the list of things I should fight for because I’m just as good?
And that night and the next day, Dad said that music was dead. And my teachers and band director said it. And my friends heard it from their parents. And I heard the words spectacle, disgrace, embarrassment, gimmick, talentless and the question is this what music has come to?
And these are all the things I heard during the 2012 Grammy’s. But not from my parents who don’t bother to watch anymore – but from my peers.
When I saw him on the 2012 Grammy stage, I thought – LL Cool J looks great – he’s ageless. I was metaphorically fist pounding for my generation, thinking – We still got it! Then he slid right into the irrelevant zone by spewing dated slang. Seriously L, nobody’s been looking for an around the way girl since 1990, and half the audience doesn’t know what the ef one is.
If you think that music is bad right now, it’s because you’re old.
If you’re confused by the shenanigans of Katie Perry or Nicki Ménage or Lady Gaga, that’s understandable. If you complain about them, you’re old.
If after watching the Grammy’s you say that by losing Whitney, we have no one (meaning talented people) left, even though Adele and Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson graced the stage, you’re old.
If you forgot that Donna Summer wasn’t that great of a singer or Diana Ross and Cher couldn’t dance, or that early commercial hip hop had more gimmick artists than standouts, or that many of our great music legends have limitations, your memory is gone; therefore you’re old.
If you didn’t know any song on the Grammy show except “Rhinestone Cowboy,” you’re old.
If you call any music noise, you’re old.
If you asked “Who is that” about an act on the stage at any point last night and somebody under 20 had to tell you, you’re old. If you Googled to find out, you’re not.
If you say Lil’ Wayne and Young Money have ruined rap, you’re old. If you say his attire is absurdly, and absolutely ridiculous, you’re on point.
If you asked “Where’s Madonna,” you should know better because you know she’s still got a heat pad on those knees from last week’s Super Bowl performance.
Now go add some bling to that cane! Like a rhinestone cowboy…