I am about to sound SALTY. AS. FUCK. Give me a hot second to take my teeth out and sit on my hemorrhoid pillow and pontificate about how “you millennials” won’t ever know about the time when life was real and fun, better known as the 90s. As a woman who is in her 30s but still acts like she’s 15, allow me to give you a crash course on what that time period was like. We didn’t have cellphones until like way late in the decade (I got mine in ’99, come at me bruh), so we had beepers and fucking payphones. So when you wanted to chill with your friends, you literally had to stand at a payphone (typically at the mall), pay a quarter, beep your friend with the payphone number and wait for them to call you back on this filthy device full of mall employee halitosis scars and slimy receivers once held by men who would jack off in front of the Dunkin Donuts located in that one deserted wing of every shopping center. Fuck, we didn’t even have PURELL after touching that sticky thing.
We memorialized our hangouts in our journals and the rare “throwaway” camera opps. Our selfies always made us look like we had double chins because we had to flip these disposable cameras around, oftentimes cutting out half of our faces and we wouldn’t even find out until CVS returned our photos three days later. We recorded songs off the radio onto cassettes and handwrote lyrics. If we wanted our music library on us, we had to carry a suitcase. It was a very different era, punctuated with songs that still resonate today. You will never get teary-eyed listening to Future’s “Fuck Up Some Commas” the way some of us do when we hear Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away.” You ain’t about that life.
So when Rashida Jones gives all of the heavy sighs FaceTiming with her unlikely pal Jermaine Dupri in this “Flip And Rewind” video, a lot of us understand her sentiment to a T. The 90s were wild as fuck. We didn’t know if war or AIDS or mass transit was going to kill us. We had Bill Clinton who was cool, but then we also had Rodney King. And sure, that does make for some parallels to today, but two decades ago life was simpler in the most complex of ways and to say it was better (musically) is an understatement. Rashida Jones totally gets it, and that’s why she dropped this blessing of a song-slash-video into our laps to enjoy. While for many this is a trip down memory lane, there are still some style points of note that can probably still help your everyday life since today is full of everyone trying to look like yesterday.
CAN WE TALK?
OK, look at this fucking work of art. First of all, shout out to Tevin Campbell posted up to the left of Rashida kind of looking like Uncle Luke but you don’t hear me though. Those white high collar suits were all the wave back then, and dressing in white made even the ruggedest of R&B singing gents look like total angels. Meanwhile Rashida is wearing the greatest accent for any dressy outfit…
…the backwards Kangol. Hoop earrings too made the mission complete. See back then the stylistic sentiment was, “Yes, my boobs are showing, but I will wear your fucking hat to show you that I give minimal fucks about looking like a lady.” Because #ThirdWaveFeminism.
It’s in all of our Instagram wet dreams to achieve perfect lighting against brick walls. Hell, I just posted one the other day out of sheer desperation of looking artsy to balance out all of those “A Kardashian a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” memes I post. This right here is a nod to the Mary J. Blige What’s The 411? era, where lurking in dark alleys was completely safe as long as your were searching for that real love. And bamboo earrings? Holy fuck. If your earrings didn’t hang to your neck in any capacity, you were corny and didn’t deserve ear lobes. As a proud Jersey native, I maintain that mantra today. The bigger the hoop, the closer to god. I want my hoops so big that James Harden can dunk on my face. Wait…
More nods to MJB and “Real Love.” Back then the ultimate way to express your social consciousness was by wearing anything with an X (for Malcolm X) or an Africa pendant. I even had a Malcolm X hat back then. #StayWoke.
BACK IN THE DORMS
Could you even fathom a time when you went away to college and had to handwrite letters to your friends back home? Or even worse, had to huff it to a computer lab to use some clunky ass computer to type a letter in MS DOS? Yeah, that was college life in the 90s. The reason why I’m bringing this up is because this part of Rashida’s video is an homage to TLC’s “Baby Baby Baby” where the trio goes to college. For some reason Chilli is cradling a teddy bear in the original video too which I still don’t get. Maybe it’s that whole “I’m so cute I will cuddle this inanimate object and pretend it’s my crush” thing. But forget all of that, let’s delve into the style, OK?
If you weren’t wearing flip-up “Dwayne Wayne” glasses, you were wearing Tom Cruise in Risky Business Ray Bans and you were fresh as fuck. The brighter the colors the better, and jeans that were actually denim colored were silly when you could be wearing green jeans or purple jeans. Cross Colours was the ultimate clothing line with their tag “Clothing Without Prejudice.” So basically if you weren’t down with Cross Colours then you were racist. Or poor maybe because those jeans cost like $64 a pair. I hoarded my allowance for a pair of those from the store Merry Go Round. You have no idea.
Photographically speaking, the only way to convey, “I don’t just love music, I live music” was by taking a pic where your eyes were closed and you were cupping the earmuffs of your gigantic headphones. That really drove the point home that you were unbothered when your favorite CD was on. Sidebar: this Rashida look is an ode to Left Eye so #RIP Lisa Lopes.
ANDRE'S GOT SOMETHING TO SAY
Andre Harrell really drops some gems during his monologue in the video. The 90s were about going out and celebrating life. We didn’t even need Snapchat to do it. Ugh, now I’m getting sentimental. Anyway, shout out to these bright yellow blazers where you would cuff the sleeves to reveal your shirt underneath and leave your jacket open to expose your high-waisted jeans with an enormous buckle. Nowadays we call this the mom jean look, but back then it was the, “Hurry the hell up before the line at the club gets too long” look. And yes, high ponytails at the club were considered dressy. Now it’s the, “I hope I still look fuckable at the gym” hairdo.
THE WHITE COATS ARE COMING
It’s like we kept our shit cleaner back then, because white clothing was EVERYWHERE, even during off seasons. It was nothing to wear a puffy white coat, a white beanie and some gangster shades ON the beanie as if to suggest that while you look sweet and innocent you might rob a bank later.
And here would be the place to store all that money, naturally. Tiny backpacks are just starting to make a comeback, but in the 90s it was the girly version of a Jansport. Sometimes we would wear our backpacks to the front of us and jokingly say “the baby’s due next month” because back then it was cool to joke about being a teen mom since it didn’t come with a reality TV series.
AT YOUR BEST YOU'RE IN A BANDANA
Real talk, when I bought my Benz (#humblebrag), I envisioned myself in Aaliyah’s “At Your Best” video (her birthday was just the other day, *sigh* R.I.P. Baby Girl), where she rolls up in the black Benz like what’s good. It’s always so much cooler to have a drop top where two brave friends sit on top of the back. It’s like a thugged out parade float.
And here we have Rashida as the bastion of badassness, where she’s rocking a bandana and hoop earrings and dark lipstick in her Benz like, “See girls can drive luxury vehicles too, fuckers.” That was a very common theme in 90s videos too. Girls in Lexuses and Benzes where they COULD be driving their man’s car or maybe they were just that fresh on their own.
Two things here: It’s always crazy to me how much Rashida’s sister Kidada (to the right in the photo above) looks so much like her late BFF Aaliyah. Also, Samantha Ronson (to the left in the photo above) makes a cameo in the video with tiny pigtails, and Rashida was actually engaged once to Samantha’s brother Mark Ronson.
Here’s the part where I get a little critical. This Hypebeast licking the bottom of a new pair of kicks broseph with the backwards cap is SO NOT A 90s DUDE. He is missing some jeans (well, maybe he is wearing jeans but I can’t tell because he’s sitting), some Timbs (well, maybe he’s wearing those too)… OK he just needs to lose that hat and put on a collared Polo shirt to let me know it’s real. That loose interpretation of a Zack Morris phone can stay I guess. Now THIS guy (to the right in the photo above) looks 90s. East LA 90s, but 90s nonetheless.
In conclusion, if you were old enough to experience the ‘90s then this is probably you, sitting in your lonely office cubicle, feeling detached from a society obsessed with informing everyone of their every movement down to the very second. You miss the days when you were younger and cooler and wore brighter colors. Now you’re using hashtags incorrectly and Facebooking pictures of your sonogram. What the hell happened? Thankfully, Rashida Jones feels our pain and made a video like this to remind all of us of decades past. Ah, the 90s. What a time to be alive.
Kathy Iandoli misses the 90s, but not nearly as much as she misses Aaliyah and Left Eye. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram.