Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, does ANYONE know what that mean, man?

While I should have been cleaning out my closet (cliche' but, it really needs work), my basement, trunk of my car, and garage. I decided my ipod was more important. While I have some solid classics, there were definitely some songs that needed to go. You know, the mistakes of 2008 like, "Love Lock down", "I kissed a Girl", and that super annoying Pink song, "Rockstar".

I put my ipod into the docking station, like a semi-truck or something, and put it on random. As I did the dishes, "Miss Independent", by Ne-yo came on. Damnit!, I thought. I forgot to delete another one. I hate that song, I really do. Ne-yo has a way of sucking you in with his catchy and interesting first few beats. "Sexy Love", "Because of you" (personal favorite), and of course, "Closer". "Miss Independent" is no different...actually, it is.

The whole song bothers me, from start to finish. Even the title gets under my skin. "Miss Independent". Not only did Kelly Clarkson already go there, but the title suggests that being independent is a unique or song-worthy thing. Let's examine the lyrics.

....yes, I will give you time to go get the song, I know you have it.......

"Cuz she walk like a boss
Talk like a boss
Manicured nails
to set the pedicure off
She's fly effortlessly"

Okay Ne-yo, CLEARLY you don't have a clue. Setting an appointment, picking out a color, and setting up to (2) hours of out your "bossy day" to get a manicure AND pedicure takes effort. There is nothing effortless about it. I pity the poor girl that tackles my feet. They always bring out the heavy weaponry. But fine, ladies we will let Ne-yo think it's effortless. Moving forward...

"Cuz she work
Like the boss
Play like the boss
Car and a crib
She about to pay em both off
And her bills
Are paid on time"

WOW! She pays her bills on time?! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG, Homie. That's great. Does she have a credit score over 700? She must, she must. Ne-yo is suggesting, to me anyway, that paying bills on time is a unique thing. Like, a conversation in the men's locker room.

"Hey Ne-yo, how is your new girlfriend?"

"OH! She's great! She didn't get her phone shut off like my last one"

Come on. Is that what makes you "Miss Independent"? Bills paid on time?

I took pleasure in deleting that song. Then I realized I have several songs. The following is pretty embarrassing...yes, I have Webbie's "I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T" (do you know what that means, man?)

Yes, I understand. Are we in a spelling bee? Can you use that word in a sentence, please? Webbie? Lil' Boosie? Anyone?

"I N D E P E N D E N T
Do You Know What That Mean Man?
I N D E P E N D E N T Do You Know What That Mean?
She Got Her Own House
She Got Her Own Car
Two Jobs
Work Hard
YOU A Bad Broad"

WOW! She has her own house?! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG, Homie. That's CRAZY. A woman has her OWN house? Her boyfriend didn't help her? Her parents did not help her, either? The house wasn't on sale at Club Monaco? That IS impressive. Don't even get me started on how awesome it is that she "got her own car". I mean, right? But, are her bills paid on time, like Ne-yo's boss girl?

Now that we know how much the guys appreciate "independent women", I wonder how the ladies feel about all of this.
" Lucy Lu, with my girl Drew, Cam-ron' D and Destiny

I remember that song was on every single mix cd that I made. Charlie's Angels was not even released but I was already obsessed with the song. It was called the "women's anthem". How flattering, let's look at some of the key points this song explored,

"The shoes on my feet
I bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
I bought it
cuz I depend on me

If I want it
the watch I'm wearing
I bought it
the house I live in
I bought it
the car I'm driving
I bought it

I depend on me"

That was really inspiring, girls. Thank you for that. You bought your own car? Nice! AND your shoes? WOW! My turn, "QUESTION!" If you are so independent, then WHY are you following some guy named, Charlie? Is he like your pimp or something? (50 Cent will spell that out AND use it in a sentence if you don't know what "P-I-M-P" is) Come on, buy your way out of this situation, ladies! I mean, right? You are buying everything else in your song.

In college, I always felt the need to say, "I'm not a Feminist, but..." before saying anything in a lot of my philosophy classes. Well, maybe I am a "Feminist". I'm a "Manist", too. I'm all for people. I'm a "people-ist". But recently, all this talk of "independent women" has been getting on my nerves. I know a lot of guys that are pretty "independent", too. What does independence even mean, really? Does it mean that you bought your own car? Your own house? The shoes on your feet? Really, what?

I have my own house, my own car (2 of them actually, and I really regret the second one I bought), LOTS of shoes, a puppy, etc etc. My bills are paid on time. I have a great credit score. It's stressful, actually. I'm not running around MY house singing, "I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T". I'm usually yelling at my puppy, calling my parents asking about the different documents I receive in the mail, what kind of house insurance I need, how my bonds are doing, etc. When a boy makes me cry, I call my Dad. When I have NO clue why I'm writing yet another check to AAA of Michigan, I call my Mom. Sometimes, I realize that eating out 8 days a week, isn't the most cost-efficient thing. I can't cook. I'm dependent on Lean Cuisines and Progresso soup.

Despite my faults and interesting learning curve, I would consider myself to be fairly "independent". I don't think I could survive a nuclear fallout, but...I have survived heartbreak, unemployment, workplace harassment, elective surgery, and growing pains of all sorts. There may not be a song out there about people like me, but it's okay to march to the beat of your own drum. I mean, right?

I really think people in general, men AND women, are amazing creatures. It really bothers me when a woman says, "I'm a strong black woman". To me that suggests that most women (black or otherwise, but especially black since they took the time to say, "black"), are not strong by default. "My mother was a strong woman". I'm sure she was. What made her "strong?" Her willingness to schlep you around for 9 months? The fact that she sacrificed her size 4 body to bring you into this world? The fact that she kicked ass in her spinning class? What exactly made her "strong?". Why do some people feel the need to say that? If you tell yourself and others a certain thing, can you bring it to life? Can it be realized?

If "our" Independence Day is when we declared freedom from England. Then, is "independence" defined as separation from something else? Was your independence day when you moved into your Freshmen dorm in college? You know, into a room that was completely paid for and furnished by your parents? Is THAT independence? Or, maybe it was when you rented your own place in Midtown after you got your first, "real job". Is that independence? When you broke up with your clingy girlfriend? Free at last! I'm free at last!? I mean, right?

Is independence the ability to survive completely on your own? Or is that self-sufficient? If that's the case, I don't know anyone that is completely independent OR self-sufficient. Maybe a houseplant. Who else can turn sunlight into food? Then again, that plant needs YOUR house. I mean, right?

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