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I heard “I… feel good about Candy” playing hard and loud through a cassette tape on the big black radio. It sat there most of the summer with no sound because it only ran on batteries and batteries are expensive, When it did play Spin-a-fella Dana Dane, L.L., and Run DMC boomed loud through the silver speakers. I learned words from the rap but I learned that boys like girls from the R&B of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jams “All Cried Out”. I tried my voice at these words but it could never hit the sound of Lisa Lisa. The first time that I noticed that the lead singer of Cult Jam was muscular and his voice was magical is when I was old enough to understand feelings. Not noticing that these videos were a part of a movement that to me seemed to represent Black people. I did not notice that I was proud, but I did not know that I wanted to be a part of some form of entertainment. As I grew the Fat Boys had a movie and Break Dancing was acceptable if you had cable and the movies played excessively. Through these ideas, MTV changed a ton for me because I was introduced to Madonna outside of Michael Jackson, Boy George outside of Whitney, George Micheal, Freddy Jackson, New Edition, and the Beastie Boys. To this day I still am unable to understand the Beastie Boys. Not due to color but due to the Rock and Roll aspect of the music, however, Guns and Roses, as well as Journey, played a major part in what I knew as cuts. 

I am now perplexed at how these artists helped me accept and see the world differently without knowing that the world through their eyes helped me be open and supportive of different lifestyles and experiences. All of this could have been branding and marketing, but to know that Boy George dressed like a girl and Karma Chameleon’s video played with the different people dancing happy with amusement in the background gave life to a different type of person that the world viewed as amazing. The female rappers gave black women a new style of respect with lyrics that graced our ears with respect. As, “Ladies First”, runs through my head, we were able to shape the world that we see today because depending on your style, genre, acceptances, and maybe friends you were able to form a pretty good perspective of the shape of the world that we live in. Even Mr. Rodgers effects the world of cardigans in my eyes and its importance in education. 

Throughout this time I listened and watched and I gained different perspectives but at no point did I change who I thought I wanted to be to fit into a culture of a song or artist I liked. I have been transitioning on a journey and through this, I have found that influence and inspiration do not mean that I have to be unaccepting of other lifestyle choices that others tend to live. I can simply exist with them as they exist with me. 

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