I don’t mean no disrespect calling you by your first name and all like I know you. You don’t know me from Black Eve, but we’ve cried together and grown together. When you sat on a New York rooftop with Method Man, your vocals and his lyrics became my adolescent anthem. The undying devotion in your voice as you sang about ”sweet morning dew” spoke to everything I felt about my first love. By the time you dropped “My Life” during my senior year of high school, pouring out your heart and singing parts of my story that were yet to be written, you were my big sister. When that First Love broke my heart, I played “I’m Going Down” on repeat, ordered from Video Music Box the visual of you with your head hung low, walking down the steps. I found, perhaps, a sick comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone with the pain in my chest, the first time I’d felt that way, but unfortunately not the last. I didn’t know where my heart was headed, but I knew I’d get through it because you did.
I’ve sat front row at one of your Madison Square Garden concerts and caught chills to your breakdown on “No More Drama.” I’ve wept openly, scaring the man who was with me at Essence Music Festival, when you sang “Not Gonna Cry” because you took me back to a place where my demons were active. When you found your happy, I partied with you when the DJ dropped “Just Fine” at a club. After news of my first book deal finally sank in (it took awhile), I sat on my Brooklyn rooftop and looked out at the bit Manhattan I can see from my three-story building and played “I Dream in Color” from the “Precious” soundtrack on my iPod. I cried and waved a hand to God when you sang, “It took a long time, to get to this place… “ My wins pale in comparison to yours, but the struggle to accept one’s self and get the payoff is the same at every level.
As someone who wants the best for you, who stans for you the way these young girls obsess about Beyonce’, I have to say this: Mary, Dearest Mary, that Burger King commercial was beneath your pedestal and your laurels. Chicken, boo? Chicken?! I’ve put on a few pounds over the years and my girls check me when I want to wear an old dress like I have my old curves. I wish you had my girls to check you about this commercial because yours let you down.
When I first heard about your Burger King ad on Twitter, I thought I was a day late to an April Fool’s joke, or perhaps it was one of those mildly amusing skits from “Funny or Die” (except for the Bobby Brown-Mike Tyson one, which was actually hilarious.) McDonald’s is known for this just-don’t–get-it mess with Black folk singing and dancing about food. I thought you were spoofing them. I didn’t believe you were forreal until a good writer-friend who had put down her pen after Whitney died, put her newborn to bed early and let go of some much needed sleep to explain 5 ways you had gone wrong with this one. I exhaled when I heard Burger King had pulled it from YouTube, even if they claim it was due to a music licensing issue.