The Late Eighties to Mid-Nineties was The Flyest Era Ever for Young Black America

The late eighties to mid-nineties was the flyest era ever for young, black America! Yeah, I know I sound like somebody’s Big Mama but I’m so serious. Black folks were at their dopest. Places like Detroit (Waddup doe?), Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Miami were, collectively, stepping up their game and repping black beauty, love and power to the fullest. It was a time where young black men adored young black women. They wrote and sang us love songs. We were, prominently and respectfully, displayed in music videos (with the exception of 2 Live Crew- that’s another post). Hotties like Al B. Sure sang in a sexy falsetto while reminding us that we had value in their eyes. Groups like TROOP thought of us day and night. Young  black America was the envy of the world and we loved each other.

Eighties singer Al B. Sure
Light-skinned cutie Al B. Sure crooned to the ladies. Photo courtesy of

My friends and I were THE proverbial “Around The Way Girls” (shout out to LL’s fine ass). We rocked bamboo earrings “at least 2 pair” (see what I did there?), danced, sang and were the shit in our Merry Go Round outfits. Young caramel, chocolate and butter pecan sisters alike were feeling themselves with empowered sisters like Salt N’ Pepa, Jade and SWV. We were shooping and pushing it with the best of them. Our asses weren’t out for the world to see. Sexiness was implied and not overtly displayed like hookers on the stroll. Our booty shorts didn’t show actual booty. We left SOMETHING to the imagination. Being different was ok. Weaves, bobs, and dookie braids aka box braids were the hairstyles of choice and we were cute too! Mary J. Blige was an innovator because we could relate to her. She was hood just like us. She was THE reason why I dyed my hair blonde and rocked hombre lips before they were popular. Yaaaaaaaaas honey! We were giving these streets the business. Girls do way too much today. Nothing is understated. Everything is EXTRA- hair, makeup, clothes. UGH!  They make my damn nerves bad! Thankfully, my daughter is a fan of the music and things that I loved during this era. She IS pretty fly. She gets it from her mama!

Young, black and sexy
Salt-N-Pepa are giving me eternal life!
Photo courtesy of MTV

I am so glad that I am not a youngster in this day and age. Who the hell would I date? Chris Brown, Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan look like they need multiple baths in bleach. I am not even against tattoos ( I have 5 of them) but tattoos should never make you look like you smell like a bag of cut onions marinating outside on the porch on the hottest day of summer. I CANNOT with these pseudo-femme, gangster clowns. The brothers in the eighties and nineties wouldn’t be caught dead looking a mess. They were clean and sexy.  Big Daddy Kane comes to mind. HE was finer than wine in the summertime. He was a smooth operator and put in work all to my delight. He wasn’t the only cutie from this time. We had Mr. Dalvin from Jodeci, New Edition, Kwame and Special Ed. These youngins should take notes. For real.

The Eighties and Nineties... Yaaas!
Big Daddy Kane, handout photo….1991 (music entertainer)

Black pop culture was incredible. We had classic television shows like “Martin” and “Living Single”. Young, beautiful black folks who were successful with a dope crew to boot. We were empowered by our intelligence, talent and grace. Michael Jackson, single-handedly, SHAT on EVERYBODY when Fox Network debuted “Remember The Time” after “The Simpsons”. I know that my crew wasn’t the only ones trying to remember that choreography not to mention that we, FINALLY, had an accurate depiction of BLACK Egyptians! What was there NOT to love about being young, black and gifted during this era? Do you remember actually DANCING at parties? I’m talking about dancing so hard that you’d sweat your hair out? We didn’t give a damn. We were doing the Running Man, the Cabbage Patch, the Hammer… the list was endless. We were the coolest. We had Pajama Jammie Jams. I repeat Pajama Jammie Jams.. let that marinate. We can thank Kid-N-Play for that. Our house parties were off the hook and I don’t remember us drinking and smoking. It was good clean fun. You couldn’t pay me to be a teen or young adult today. I’m dead-ass serious.  I wish that our children could experience those times. Hell, I’m scared to let my daughter go to a sleepover now without fearing that her “friends” would drug her and post some dumb shit on Snap Chat or Instagram. That MIGHT have been extra but you feel me, no? I just wish that we could bring this era back but on second thought- these corny ass kids couldn’t pull it off. This era was the shit because WE WERE THE SHIT!



K. Araújo, a native Detroiter, is a cross between Claire Huxtable, Rosie Pérez and Millie Jackson. Widow, bruja, Oni Yemaya, palera,  professional dragger of filth and Mami to the dopest Ethiopian EVER, she is the Editor in Chief of “Negra With Tumbao”, Staff Writer for “The Urban Twist” and a freelance contributor for major publications like The Root, VSB, Huffington Post, My Brown Baby and The Glow Up.

​Keka has been known to shake what her mama gave her, is the hell and high water, an expert salsera and cussologist with a penchant for the finer things in life and is and forever shall be- unapologetically black.

6 Replies to “The Late Eighties to Mid-Nineties was The Flyest Era Ever for Young Black America”

  1. This sums up my entire existence between grammar school and college. Thank you . These youngins just dont understand. ..

  2. I’m just saying! 🙂

  3. Anita Everette says:

    You just said everything that I’ve been telling my nieces and nephews! They have no idea how cool those days were. I remember those days of dancing until we sweat. Loved them and … by the way… I still invite friends over to my house once a month, we move back the chairs in the living room, cook up some food and dance to 70’s,80’s and 90’s music. I just can’t let it go! lol Thanks for sharing this post. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you said that!!

  4. Philip Henderson says:

    True, but I remember those years like it was yesterday. We still had the crack epidemic and a homicide rate that was even worse than todays’. Washington, DC was a slaughterhouse in those days. For my money I think the late sixties-early seventies were a lot flyer, even though the clothes were rather horrendous (to me, anyway). The late 80s-early 90s fashions admittedly were better than those of twenty years before (to say nothing of the lousy shit kids wear today).

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