A week and a half ago, I had a meltdown. I’m not proud of it. I predicted it would happen. But to understand how I nearly lost my mind, I have to explain the context for my near-breakdown. This past January, along with millions of other fans, I fell out when trailers for The New Edition Story hit social media. My love for New Edition predates my New Kids fandom. I have been a New Kids on the Block fan since I was sixteen; I was 11 when “Candy Girl” debuted. It was catchy, cute, and reminiscent of the Jackson 5, the Sylvers and the Motown super groups I heard growing up thanks to my music lover dad. I was a fan of bubblegum, R&B, doo-wop and harmonizing. This song was all those and more. Who could resist Ralph T with his cute face and great falsetto? Everybody, including me, wanted to be a Candy Girl. So I became a fan.
Memories of my youth are connected to New Edition. I played “If It Isn’t’ Love” to death the summer I worked one of my first jobs at a yogurt shop. I remember seeing the video on MTV for the first time and thinking they had grown up. They were a bunch of cute boys and I was close in age to them. They looked like boys I could possibly see in my high school.Like most girls, I had posters on my bedroom walls. The cast of The Outsiders, Menudo, Duran Duran, and New Kids on the Block were all featured at one point or another. I never put up a picture of New Edition. I would have liked to but it would have been questioned simply because they were black. I thought Ralph T was cute. I found Bobby Brown and the oversexed bad boys of BBD adorable. They were all attractive, fun guys. It was natural that I would be attracted to them. Millions of people were and are. I could not own outwardly that I admired and liked these young men. That’s a shame. As I’ve gotten older, I’m not bound by those old restrictions of my childhood household. I am attracted to whoever I find attractive. I told M about how I couldn’t put any New Edition posters and she was perplexed.
I anxiously awaited the debut of The New Edition Story. I watched the first episode and I was entranced. Several articles and blogs have been written about how this miniseries has impacted people culturally and emotionally. The recreation of the videos and photo shoots and musical performances were perfection. (Yes I’m singing, or rather butchering, “Still in love.”) After watching it myself, I decided to share Episode 1 with M. The littles were too brilliant for her not to see them. (Caleb is my favorite so I have started watching Stranger Things.)There are scenes towards the end of that episode when they’ve transitioned into teens that were not for her eyes so M saw an edited version. Nevertheless, M was hooked. We watched the rest of the miniseries together but I had to be careful about certain scenes. I would stop the film and we’d start the “clean version” the following evening. Not surprisingly, we both became NE-obsessed. We downloaded all their hits on our devices. It’s been nonstop New Edition ever since.
My DVR is always set to record a dozen shows. My few shows are on Netflix but the DVR is almost always packed with our family faves, Rambo’s shows, and news shows. It’s always between 75 to 95% full. I foolishly deleted The New Edition Story because it was available on demand and I knew it would re-air. My daughter and I had watched it three times and Episode 1 five times. I was excited to record it. When I came home and realized it didn’t record because repeats were not part of the recording settings, I had a fit. I was livid. I raised my voice at M (yes I broke my Lenten promise) and Rambo. I paced back and forth like a madwoman. Eventually I headed into my home office and logged onto Facebook to vent with my NE4Life group. Other group members had posted about what they are doing as we wait for the DVD. Within the hour, I downloaded the BET app on my phone. M and I watched part of Episode 1. The evening ended on a happy note though we missed bedtime.
New Edition has been around in all the phases of my life. I feel as if we have grown up together. While I have seen Ralph and BBD perform in the past, I have never seen all six together. I’m looking forward to enjoying a group I have loved for over 30 years. NE4Life!!!
All six receive their long-overdue star on the Walk of Fame