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My Love Life Is Dictated By My iTunes Playlist

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

This picture was in my 7th grade diary. Did I write diary entries about B2K? You bet I did!

This picture was in my 7th grade diary. Did I write diary entries about B2K? You bet I did!

It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I finally acknowledged I had a problem.

I’d started hooking up with a friend that I had been crushing on for a semester and a summer. Hanging out always involved music in some way, and we were watching a Kid Cudi interview when he exclaimed, “I like Kid Cudi, man. He’s a regular dude, just like me!”

I agreed with him, but I was chuckling inside. He didn’t know it but my fascination with him, and the unshakeable crush that followed, developed at the exact same time that I was obsessively listening to Kid Cudi’s debut mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi.

I can actually pinpoint the precise moment my conflation of music and relationships began. I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music freely until middle school, the same time I started caring about boys. Back then I was all about B2K. J-Boog was my favorite, but I also welcomed Lil’ Bow Wow, Mario, and Lil’ Romeo into my heart. My allowance money was constantly wasted on Right On! magazine for the free posters. When you stepped into my room all you saw were cornrows and matching baggy outfits.

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“Where Are You Really From?” I’m An “Exotic” Black Girl

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

To some, this is the face of an African queen.

To some, this is the face of an African queen.

“Oooh, you’re exotic. I’m going to call y’all Godiva!”

That was what a Southern gentleman exclaimed to me and my friend after we told him that our families originated from Liberia and Nigeria, respectively. We had struck up conversation with him and his friends outside of a club and, in exchanging the usual pleasantries and the bits of information you feel comfortable sharing with strangers, he asked us where we were from. I told him Connecticut, she told him New Jersey.

“No, where are you really from?” he countered.

I am always slightly thrown off by these compliments tempered with inquiries into my cultural background, no matter how frequently I get them. I do not know which features give away the fact that my roots are not in America, but the comments that I receive about my appearance often reveal people’s thoughtful or ignorant perspectives on Africa and Afrocentric standards of beauty.

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