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How old were you when you first found out who Brandy Norwood was? Was it when you saw her dancing around on the hit sitcom Moesha or when you heard her singing her top single “Best Friend?” For me, I was at least 9 years old when I first saw her on "Moesha," and at that time in the 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of black female leads in sitcoms so it was huge for representation. Not only could Brandy act, but she could sing you off the rafters. You could watch her on tv and then pop in her cd and get your entire life.
Even though she had a hit TV show and number one albums, Brandy didn’t stop there. She kept busy in several projects such as ABC’s Cinderella (Whitney Houston played her fairy godmother, more about that later), the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer, the very first black barbie doll was crafted in her image, and to be honest, she was the real reason I stayed with my hair braided all the time. Brandy literally had an era all to herself, and even when she wasn’t acting, she was giving vocals to sustain you for days.
Even with her popularity and continued success, Brandy still faced challenges that all stars encounter in their career. She was involved in a feud with fellow R&B star Monica for years (still ongoing?), a mysterious pregnancy, and a car accident where she was at fault and someone lost their life. It was hard to see one of America’s darlings and our black princess deal with all these issues and still maintain her career. In fact, I came to admire her even more.
We all have to admit that times have changed and that millennials aren’t rocking to the same classics we fell in love with. No shade to the Futures, Nicki Minaj’s, or Lil Uzi’s but Brandy’s catalogue is unmatched. Songs like “Sitting Up In My Room” and “Brokenhearted” described how any girl would feel falling love and experiencing heart break for the first time. Not only could you relate to her songs but you were guaranteed to get a good vocal at a concert which is very rare these days(unless you are the Queen B).
There’s that saying that “You need to give people their flowers while they can still smell them”? I believe this needs to be done for Brandy. I’m sure you are all aware of her recent social media antics that involve constant adoration for Whitney Houston (we all know they shared a special bond), the constant shade thrown at Monica, and her strange behavior at concerts. It hurts me to see her like this especially since she’s a star in her own right and should be relishing in that. This new generation of music is based off quick club hits, and when you don’t adapt or find other avenues to remain relevant, you fade to the background.
I believe Brandy is struggling with how to connect with the new generation and in response continues to act out in ways we don’t understand. As a dedicated fan, I refuse to be one of those people who make fun of her. It’s clear that she’s in a weird space, and I just hope she finds her way out of it soon. We need more classics like “I Wanna Be Down” and “Almost Doesn’t Count.” They may not know it yet, but this generation needs it too. Get well soon Brandy!!!