A friend posted an old Janet Jackson video on my Facebook wall yesterday and I started you-tubing Janet’s videos from the mid 90’s to early 00’s. The “Got Till It’s Gone” video took me back to the 7th grade–the last time I was really content and oblivious to the world around me. In other words, innocent. I was socially awkward in my early teens (hard to imagine if you met me in high school and beyond) and didn’t have many friends. My frequent companion was music–particularly music videos; MTV, VH1 and BET were my major forms of recreation before the boys came knocking, before fashion become an obsession, and before body image issues started creeping up.
I remember watching “Got Till it’s Gone” and not getting certain parts of it; what did a guy getting his head shaved have to do with anything? But, the video did have a certain effect on me, despite the fact that I didn’t know the story behind it. It made me feel calm, cool and relaxed. I loved Janet’s funky hair, loved the mellow beat, loved how carefree everyone in the video was. But most of all, I loved the unique looks of everyone in the video. The song is set during apartheid and depicts 60’s and 70’s black culture, and while I didn’t find this out until later, the essence of the song wasn’t lost on me. I wanted to grow up and be like the people in the video–carefree, lively and happy.
This isn’t the first JJ song that defined a moment in my life. In the 4th grade, one of the “popular” girls in my class asked me to sit at her table at lunch. I was excited but scared–why would she want to sit with a geekazoid like me? As soon as I set down my lunch tray, the grilling began. Continue reading