"Perm in ya hair or even a curly weave with your New Edition/Bobby Brown button on your sleeve"
- "Around The Way Girl", LL Cool J
I guess I am an "Around The Way Girl", because for me, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and even Johnny will always be INVITED! The BET three-night biopic about the group had lifers like myself up singing, dancing, and reminiscing way past our bedtimes. The movie had me glued to the television and all-up-in-my-feelings-from-the-80's-and-90's. And from the comments on my FB timeline, I was not alone. The New Edition Story was destined to win, just like the five kids from the Orchard Park projects of Boston. So, here are 5 Reasons why they are always and forever invited.
The Boston Backstory - Most people know about their humble beginnings and how the group started with talent shows and local club appearances in Roxbury. The movie captured that era well. Ralph had the Michael Jackson-esque vocals, each had their own lil kid swagger and style, and all had the cheesy grins, looking excited as hell to be dancing and singing for the camera. They might not have known that they would be stars, but we did. Why? Well, today we use the term "relatable" but back then we just saw regular kids that looked like us and kids we knew. Thanks to them my friend Triecey and I (and countless others I'm sure) entertained dreams of stardom. If they did it, why couldn't we do it too? We would go to her backyard to perfect our moves for the summer Block Club Party. We were Candy Girls early on and grew with the group. Oh, and of course we won at the Block Party talent show!
Fashion Flashback - All three episodes featured near exact replicas of their iconic gear - from the wet looking S-curls and matching glittery R&B jackets to high-top fades with iced washed air-brushed jean jumpsuits and timberland boots - they got it all right. So much so that my 8-year old had questions, lots of questions. They even featured the story of Bobby Brown's iconic "gumby fade" and featured Video Soul's Sherry Carter rocking dookie braids and African hat. I was in heaven! The styling was hilarious . . . and on point! I will say though, the Jheri curl wigs looked a little rough, but then real life Jheri curls were rough too!! And, I didn't see quite enough asymmetrical bob hairstyles, but since they were guys I'll let that slide, but I'll be looking to see them represented in the MC Lyte story.
Spot On Casting - Wait . . . I know that all the actors didn't LOOK like New Edition, but I think each of the actors captured the essence of them. I also loved that they allowed them all to sing. Bryshere Gray nailed the slow, smooth East Coat drawl of Mike Bivins, Algee Smith had the voice and poise of Ralph T and when that Luke James hit that first note of "Can You Stand the Rain" . . . . Baby!! It was hard to tell that we weren't listening to Johnny Gill. They all had the moves and mannerisms down pat and understood that that is what super fans like me were looking for. They nailed it!
Underdogs of Underexposure - The New Edition Story was also a treat because, unlike today's artists we hadn't been exposed and bombarded with every detail of their younger years. Which is probably a good thing. Without the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and reality shows we didn't know every aspect of their lives and actually learned things we didn't know from the movie - the fighting within the group, details of the money troubles, the outside relationships, and even Ricky Bell's personal struggles. Thanks to Right On magazine and later Vibe we kept current but we didn't get the nitty-gritty until later.
No Sad Ending - To be honest, one thing I enjoyed most was that each of them is still around, alive and kickin' and involved. Without question, Bobby Brown has suffered some devastating personal losses, but we see him being resilient and pressing on in spite of it all. Overall, each has had their own ups and downs, but all things considered - No sad endings here. They are all still talented, still relevant, and still have a name in the entertainment industry that can open doors for any new ventures that they might choose. Not bad for five guys from Orchard Park Projects and Johnny Gill too.
Tell me, what part did you like the most!?! And, whose story should be next - I'm thinking Jodeci!?!
Please LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE this post! To make sure you're always on the guest list, LIKE Who's Invited on Facebook.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized