Authentic can sometimes be a tricky word. In a society of constant change and expected criticism, displeasing labels are placed on many of us with and without knowing. It’s taken me 30 years, but I’ve realized, thankfully, that I’ve never had all the answers on how to be my “authentic self” but I’d always see her when I was holding the right mirror. It was the reflection in people I’ve met, the relationships I fostered, the black cultural experiences I’ve taken advantage of throughout the years and the love grew with each new wave of inspiration. Sometimes you go looking for the “right” mirror and then there are times when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a store front window and must do a quick double take. Unbothered by the thought of anyone inside having a judgmental view, you admire your features and accept the reflection for what it is. Those are the mirrors that remind you of your authentic self because of its raw unexpectedness. I find pleasure in knowing that Megan Thee Stallion is an artist that held a mirror to some of my favorite attributes about myself in more ways than one.
June 14th, 2019
I was honored to be asked to participate in my best friend’s wedding and on this day was the rehearsal dinner. Both brides had spent their entire day running all over the city for last minute additions to food and chairs, preparing for the night as they pushed through their tiredness and slight hangovers from the bachelorette parties. Of course, me riding shotgun, enjoying my time with my friend as the anticipation builds for one of the most fantastic weddings of the summer. What especially excited me for this weekend was the fact that I knew I would be spending it with an amazing group of women. I sit outside in the backyard watching as family and friends arrive to the soon-to-be Pledger’s house. The sun slowly sets as those in the wedding party finished our food and begin to line up for our walk through.
Waiting second from last in line, I watched as we began to pair up, a beautiful mixture of sorts. Seeing the golden hues of brown skin, coupled with the strength that I felt radiating from this gathering was phenomenal. I had gotten to know most of the women on Sonia’s side, some for years now and it was both a blessing and empowering statement to see these two families joining under the sun. You could feel how relaxed we became with each other, so quickly invested in each other’s well-being. It was all due to this union, this monstrous love that overcame us all, with each passing moment. Such a breathtaking reflection. The feeling was shared as the night continued and our spirits waited to physically express our joy. Know for certain, that joy was shared many times over on wedding day, thanks to the Fever Album by Megan Thee Stallion. The songs that resonated with me the most were Pimpin’, Cash S**t, Shake That, and Ratchet.
Megan Thee Stallion-Pimpin’
The level of confidence that you feel with the heart-pulsing baseline rocks your body awake, dragging you out of your seat. The running taps sink in-and-out the beat, feeling itself as you loosen your body. I find it to be a good workup song if you’re preparing for a night out and you know that you’re about to put work in on those knees. This is one of those songs that conveys so much fascination to me, like a lot of other songs by black artists. You get the pleasure of seeing a type of duality within the physical expression of the music. Witnessing this great group of Black folks choosing which beat they wanted to ride, alternating between the up-tempo and the downbeat throughout the song. There’s slow intentional, head bouncing, face skrewed up, tongue all out, or this nice, easy-going sway as we gleam over one another. We highlight and celebrate each other-more deeply, in this moment.
Megan Thee Stallion-Cash S**t Ft. Da Baby
This song has many layers over what you initially hear as a simple beat but there’s so much more to appreciate. It immediately starts with what sounds like a pour of water as the anticipation builds for the baseline, creating a vastness of intentional waves. The baseline drops as your eyes roam the room and you connect with eyes with your girls, old and new friends. The hype builds in small pockets all over the dance floor, each of us claiming the riches in our lives. We loudly brag about the wealth in living and love our lives right now, and the feeling to share that with our close people. This of course brings me to my favorite line, “My bitches hustle, make money together”. If you can’t relate to grinding and celebrating with your friends and family, I truly hope that energy comes your way. My friends are strong, empowering individuals that have always became bridges to other people like them, my knowledge and compassion increasing as I meet each new teacher in their own way. That is where the money is at.
Megan Thee Stallion-Shake That
Now this song is ALL about twerking and I am all for it. It’s also what I really love about this genre of music, you are encouraged to move and work out those muscles that only dancing can reach. Twerking makes me feel my youth, testing and revitalizing the energy in my hips, thighs and of course my knees. Oh, our precious knees. Not caring what kind of aches and pains awaits us in the coming days after, we go all in. We scream our excitement for one another, moving the attention from person to person, each enjoying their time on the dance floor. You see bright faces held high-rightfully arrogant, head and hair swinging, you feel that life is being spoken back into your body one more time. You celebrate your agility, your persistence to live and to express yourself.
Megan Thee Stallion-Ratchet
The beat and the repetition of the words stuttering over the flirty background, immediately catch your ear. Hands are thrown up as you twist your shoulders back and forth. You eventually find your knees, as you look over your shoulder affirming and confirming how damn good you look. The song and pretty much all of Megan’s catalog works well with the “Ratchet” music of different generations. I found this so important. The DJ was able to effortlessly transition from this track to others such as Too Short’s Shake that Monkey or Ying Yang Twins’ Whistle While you Twerk. With this, I saw different women and men of all ages getting up and allow themselves to feel the music and let it move them to their core. This is one way for us to stay connected and continually express our appreciation for one another and for ourselves.
If there is breath in my body, I want there to be joy in my bones. Acknowledging and loving my youth while I’m here, pulling all enjoyment from those moments is what I want to keep seeing for myself. Me loving myself over and over, any way possible. I sang, I danced, I drank and I damn sure cried a lot. I looked around the room and saw my reflection in some of the best people I know. I was wrapped up in a room of positivity and influence. For that, I am thankful beyond words.
Written by Michelle Hill
Join us Next Week for the next appreciate post for: Tyler The Creator