4 years ago1,000+ Views
I recently had the opportunity to see the play HEY '90's KIDS, YOU'RE OLD as part of the NYC Frigid Festival. It's a sketch comedy that actively engages with the recent popularity of 90's culture in today's society. Before I go any further, I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with the 90s. The music, the television shows, the movies, clothes... I could go on and on. By the way, did you know that they show reruns of THE GOLDEN GIRLS, FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, MARTIN, and BOY MEETS WORLD, at least once everyday of the week in the United States? 90's R&B still makes me cry.
Growing up in the 90s was a privilege because it was the era right before the surge of the Internet, hashtags, and selfies. Wait... am I old?
Not that I'm complaining, but what gives? While the recycling of cultural icons and norms are nothing new, it does make you wonder with the creation of the Internet and social media, decades are brought to life again and again (also known as the Hollywood remake). Therefore, is anything really modern or new anymore? Or do we even care? These images are nostalgic and make us feel safe, secure, at home in a world we we get lost somewhere in the 140 characters or less.
I grew up in a single parent home as the only child and introvert in an extended family of rambunctious extroverts who falsely diagnosed me as shy because I was big thinker. To some I was destined to be a lifelong spectator. I did however have the fortune of experiencing the 90s, a decade right before the intrusion of the Internet, social media, and hashtags. Thus, my history as a spectator started with Saturday morning cartoons like The Flintstones and The Jetsons. Then I matured into sitcoms like Martin and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and films like Soul Food and Love and Basketball where I saw people who looked like myself. I was not a Saturday Night Live child; I was In Living Color. Going against what was expected of an introvert and spectator, I dared to leave New York to go to college out of state (the only person in my family to do so). If that was not bad enough, I chose a creative major: Film. At first, college was overwhelming. I was thrust into a world of roommates, social organizations, and film classes where everyone had more experience than me. It felt like it was not enough to just be an avid film watcher. What right did I really have to major in film or write? In screenwriting class, I felt lost, not knowing what stories I wanted to tell or how anything about my life could even shape me at all in my quest to be a storyteller. But I ventured ahead and immersed myself into humanities courses such as theatre, history, and global studies before I settled on African American Studies. What I enjoyed most about African American Studies was that it was not just about examining the history of those from the African diaspora; it was about seeing myself as an active agent in my community. It was also about examining how everything I do can be used to service that community. When I was younger, I was made to feel like because I was quiet and lived in my head, I could be nothing but a spectator to things going on around me and what better way to be a spectator than in the world of film and television. However, I’ve started to realize that I was more than just a spectator. I was always invested in every show or film, not necessarily because it impacted me but because there were opportunities for me to impact it. By seeing myself in the story, I took that story to new heights. That intrinsic value of cultural participation makes us feel that we have a say in the world that is happening around us and it allows us to see ourselves in our community and take ownership of it. That connection and that ownership is what I want others to experience. Today, I am still In Living Color but now with a little bit of black and white from old turner movie classics.
1 comment
Dude, 90s R&B is still amazing. I love listening to 90s Janet Jackson when I'm bored.