Unfortunately, these four are still abusing their art because we 80s babies won’t let go.
It seems that 2017 was the year of revelations for many of us. Middle-aged white women who voted in 2016 found out that they were the reason we have Trump, while black women finally revealed just how much they carry black men and the rest of America on a daily basis. Even celebrities had some revelations, especially in exposing the dark underbelly of Hollywood in the #MeToo posts.
However, some revelations didn’t really show themselves until 2017 started to breathe its last breath. In those final moments, it became clear that American 80s babies need to let go of our 90s heroes. In fact, it time to retire, Mariah Carey, Dave Chappelle, R. Kelly, probably even Will Smith after the messy, pro-police “Bright” movie.
Why retire them? Well, each has their reasons. We’ll start with the most recent one and work back down the list.
Mariah’s High Notes
If you were rocking along with Ryan Seacrest as the ball dropped, your ears got to experience the stylings of a Mariah Carey that will never see her “Dreamlover” octaves ever again. I know, People magazine, Newsweek, and others heralded her return to the stage as “triumphant”. However, true fans could hear that this Mariah hit those “Vision of Love” opening notes about two keys lower than her usual. She was singing in church choir the second alto when her norm is the lead soprano.
I guess this was an improvement over last year when she didn’t even sing—it was dubbed. But not enough. The Mariah we long for is as long gone as the tea she was blaming for her mediocre performance. We loved her for the high notes we could only hit in our heads and the melodies which sounded like love and hearts and all that mushy stuff. She is no longer that. Time to send Mariah Carey out to pasture, her time and her voice is long gone.
Dave Chappelle’s “Funny” Honesty
His Netflix special was a cluster$%*# of slurs and slander that masked some really great bits about blackness and race. The good bits never had a chance, however, after the man spent two shows giving a “sorry, not sorry” to the transgender community and serving up #MeToo victims as whiners and wimps. Once upon a time, Chappelle was the man for bringing funny but honest commentary about Americans and our often twisted ways. However, his smart snark is dated with its coded homo-and trans-phobia, sexism, and constant references to a disappearance that only a few Stans care about. He also smoked onstage—who smokes cigarettes anymore?
He made us laugh until we hurt in the 90s, and we chuckled along on the 2010s when he returned. This time, it was evident that Chappelle is past his expiration date and should be sent off to giggle and smoke in peace.
Will Smith the Edgy Hero
We 80s babies loved us some Will Smith. He was the hero who was superhuman in movies that had the trendiest themes, special effects, and messages. He could carry an entire movie talking to himself, a dog and a mannequin. He was thrilling as a depressed superhero who really needed to find a woman. We absolutely loved him as the hotshot fighter pilot against aliens, smart-ass lawyer running from rogue CIA operatives, and even as a cheesy dating guru who couldn’t help himself. Will Smith was able to do anything. But this bastardized buddy-cop-meets Lord of the Rings that was the movie “Bright” showed that there may not be a place for the Will we once knew in the action hero realm anymore.
The awkward movie tried to be preachy but came off like something created by my 14-year-old son and a racist friend. Sometimes edgy ventures into the realm of distasteful and confusing. When that happens, someone should real things in, not order a second movie, Netflix! Will still has the chops for other film genres, but it’s time to take him off the bench for the edgy hero ones. It’s time.
R. Kelly’s Everything!
His name was in the mouths of everyone as we ended the year reflecting on the sexual harassment cases that came to light and the men who are being punished now because of those cases. Yet, R. Kelly remains untouched. He is a KNOWN predator amongst black teenage girls. Complaints have been filed, lawsuits even, and the man still remains unconvicted of sexual crimes.
Earlier in 2017, there was an interview with Kelly and his then-girlfriend, who appeared to be in need of intervention as the cameras rolled. We all expected her to sign for help as the man spoke over her and mansplained his behavior. No matter how convinced we were that the woman was probably in danger, no one lifted a finger to help. R. Kelly was that melodic crooner who intoxicated us in the 90s and even created babies for the older generation. He had a keen ear for words that touched the heart and duets that provoked a real story. However, his preying on teen girls and possibly harming them should have been addressed a long damn time ago. So, let’s retire him (we should have decades ago) so that arrest becomes possible in the near future.
There are probably more to add to the list, but these are the ones who dominated the national news for a good part of the year, or they conquered our consciousness the very last minutes of 2017. Unfortunately, they are still abusing their art because we 80s babies won’t let go.