We are 20 days into March…is that not insane? Did we not just bring in 2016? Or am I trippin?
Whatever the case to be that as it may, today I had planned to dedicate today’s piece to Queen Latifah. I originally decided to write about her a few days ago , but some folks were talking reckless about Janet Jackson and I had to move to change my plans. But alas, the Queen now has my undivided attention.
|Xavier Payne, Artist|
What better way to do that than to take a moment to stop and appreciate one of Queen’s many gifts during the Generation FleX era: Living Single.
Living Single was my Thursday night groove in the 1990’s. When Thursday came, I knew I’d be spending the evening with Khadijah, Sinclaire, Regine, and Maxine. When I was watching these things growing up, so much went over my head. The older I got, the more I really began to develop an appreciation for this gem. These Black women from all walks of life; Khadijah the entrepreneur, Maxine the fierce feminist lawyer, Regine the ghetto fabulous socialite, and Sinclaire the whimsical glue that held it all together.
Upon deeper reflection, I can appreciate Living Single for the lessons it taught me about Blackness, family, and even womanhood. I can appreciate Queen Latifah paying homage to two Generation FleX ForeMothers Diana Ross and Chaka in one of my favorite episodes (Up the ladder to the roof!) I can appreciate Maxine – the pre-cursor to Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating,- HBCU made and just as Black as me. I can appreciate Kyle Barker and the unapologetic Blackness he displayed every week.
Because everybody loves a good list, here are 5 lessons I learned from watching Living Single.
1. Living Single taught me about the sacredness of Black Womanhood.
The bond between those Black women were special and sincere, It was real, and it was authentic. They were sisters and looked out for one another no matter how much they were over each other. Khadijah and Maxine’s friendship shattered the stereotype that two successful, powerful, and asserted Black women could not exist in the same space as friends and sisters. Khadijah and Regine’s friendship highlighted the evolution of a bond through circumstances and personal growth. While they came from the same hood, and same projects, they would eventually take very different paths in life – tho always bound by their past.. A few years later, remnants of the Khadijah/Maxine and Khadijah/Regine relationships were re-lived through Joan, Toni, Mya, and Lynn in Girlfriends.
2. Living Single Taught Me About the Beauty of Unbridled and Passionate Black Love.
Kyle and Maxine. Maxine and Kyle. Their love for each other was intense and cerebral. It made me yearn for a love that forced you to humble yourself in the presence of your lover because they were as bad as you thought you were. Kyle was an unstoppable force; Maxine was an immovable object. For a chocolate drop like me from a Chocolate covered household, seeing Kyle and Max’s intimate interactions was important. Didn’t know it then, but I know it now. The passion between Kyle and Maxine was so intense, that I often wondered if these two were ever an item off of the screen.
3. Living Single Taught Me to Chase My Dreams.
I have mentioned several times on here that Kkadijah inspired me to start my own magazine a few years ago. Her story was the narrative of so many of our dreams: An HBCU grad moves to Brooklyn to found her own magazine. Even though Living Single depicted Flava as being a struggling publication, in actually, Khadijah was actually doing the damn thing. Right out of college, running her own magazine with wide distribution and several high-profile interviews for its cover. She had a pretty large staff and even employed her cousin. It was an early seed planted.in me.
4. Living Single taught me how to love me.
Kyle Barker. I wanted to be Kyle Barker so bad when I was little. His voice, his style, the way he wore his hair; even in my adulthood, I’ve found myself sporting the Kyle Barker twists once or twice. The episode where he was forced to choose between his hair and his job was so important for so many reasons: For one, we were able to see the very real struggles that Black men face with their aesthetics and their hair, and two, it was likely an innovator to tackle such a subject from the perspective of a Black man. Kyle was a man of the arts and delighted in the finer things in life. He was smooth, he was suave, and he loved the hell out of those women downstairs.
5. Living Single Taught Me that Your Circle Was Your Future.
If I took away nothing else from Living Single, it was the power of your inner circle. Sinclaire was a struggling actress and office manager but look who she surrounded herself with:a tradesmen, a personal stylist, an accountant, an attorney, and anexecutive entrepreneur. I learned that the circle was just as important to your success as the actual works you did.