Black Music Month: Being Bobby Brown

I was watching VH1 Soul the other night and I came to a realization; I wanted to be Bobby Brown! I wanted to grow a Gumby, I wanted those genie pants, biking shorts, the headset he wore in the "My Prerogative" video, the 560SC Benz from the "Don't Be Cruel" video and to dance like he did in "Every Little Step". At the time, Bobby Brown and Big Daddy Kane were as big as it gets in my eyes; Michael Jackson was on another echelon. It was 1988; I was 10 years old and perfected that kick-step from "My Prerogative".

We were introduced to Bobby and New Edition five years earlier and while most of the girls fell in love with Ralph's syrupy sweet voice, Bobby was there with his hoarse singing voice and that shag. He sang "Mr. Telephone Man", but it was clear that it was Ralph's group and we soon found out that didn't sit well with Bobby, he wanted to be the "King of Stage"! The group voted him out in 1986, because he was breaking the cookie-cutter mode that they created in.

The next time we hear from Bobby is that horrible "Girlfriend" song and I remember thinking that he needed to beg New Edition to let him back. The next summer, New Edition added Johnny Gill to the lineup and released N.E. Heartbreak and it was a hit! I jammed to the album, thinking Bobby needs something. Boy did he give us something...the album Don't Be Cruel was released in June of 1988 and became the biggest thing to hit radio in years. The single, "Don't Be Cruel" was a good song, but it was "My Prerogative" that was the hit! It was hard! Bobby declared that it was his life and he was gonna do what he wanted to. I didn't even know what a prerogative was at the time, but I wanted one, because Bobby brown one. Bobby introduced the word "prerogative" into our lexicon, as well as "Roni". Shoot, I wanted a tender Roni, hell, I want a tender Roni now!

After "On Our Own" (from the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack), Bobby sort of disappeared for a little while. When he returned, he was married to Whitney Houston (WTF?!?) and had gained some happy weight. By the time we get the "Humpin' Around" video, we have a happy, heavier Bobby and the music was good, but not as spectacular. We found out years later that an abusive marriage and abusing drugs were depleting Bobby's talents. For the next few years, we only saw Bobby in court, on the way to rehab or jail or in the audience while Whitney was performing. Who can forget when she was visibly high and called Bobby the King of R&B and Chris Rock retorted rocks & blunts!

However, in 2005, we had a BB resurgence in the form of the reality show "Being Bobby Brown". We saw Bobby the man, the father and one-time superstar. We also saw Whitney the drug addict! The most interesting part of the show was watching the private lives of two people who had lived in the public eye for so long; it almost humanized them...until we heard Whitney say, "Hell to da naw!" We realized we were watching two niggas!

Sadly, they were divorced less than two years after and Whitney blocked the DVD release of "Being Bobby Brown". Musically, Whitney has released an album that pretty much flopped and not much from Bobby, but he’s done a tour with Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill. In the interim, he appeared “Celebrity Fit Club”, had a new baby and seems to be piecing his life back together.

Damn, I guess to be Bobby Brown then, I would have to be Bobby Brown now...

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