Growing up, watching Knight Rider was a family tradition. It mattered not that the hero and all of his ladies were white. It was the 80s. ALL of the heroes and their ladies were almost always white. If a show was particularly ground breaking, a pageant looking light-skinned sister would make a guest appearance, but that’s all we had. We were immersed in our white washed world of wonder and fast cars, when it went to commercial break. It was a Honda commercial with Adam Ant, who I knew, and a woman who I didn’t. She was catlike and the color of midnight, with features that were all planes and angles; including her flat top. We all sat transfixed as she spoke in her British accent and allowed Adam to exist in her space. It was my mother who broke the silence.
“That’s what you call gorgeous.”
In 30 seconds, she shat on every generic woman that had appeared in every generic ad and showed them how it was done. Her command went beyond her looks, and into something deep within, only possessed by those who know who they are. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was then, but I know I wanted it.
I remember exiting I-10 at Paris road, and having my mother tell me I was going to be a pretty girl. Her reason for doing so was so that, “it’s not an announcement when some boy tells you.” So, I never bothered to feel ugly. I was in the Creole Kingdom, where the girls with long wavy hair and green eyes reigned supreme, and yet, it never bothered me. They were beautiful. It didn’t take away from what I had going for me one bit. (Even though I looked like a duck-cat-rabbit person as a kid.) Of course, I possessed the awkwardness and insecurities that any average growing girl, but I never wanted to be beautiful like them. I wanted to be beautiful like me.
As a grown-up, I’ve occasionally played dress up, and all the trappings that came with it: acrylic nails, fake hair, tons of makeup, impossibly high heels. And it’s cool for what it is. The fellas show love. I love to see ladies get their diva on. But, that person isn’t me. That’s not my lane. There are more than enough women who do that, and do it well. But I have that casual thing that comes with knowing who the hell I am and redefining what you think comes with being a good looking girl. Diva Melle is an awkward dichotomy. Mellie Melle and all her tomboy chic glory though? She’s the shit.
I’ll probably never command a room like Grace Jones. No…not probably. I’ll NEVER be able to do that. But I definitely leave my mark. And you love it.
Pardon me, but I’m feeling myself just a bit. I’m hung over, in a Starbucks with not a stitch of makeup on and the plainest clothes ever. Yet, I’m bringing all the boys to the yard.