I'm writing this as I listen to the "Waiting to Exhale" soundtrack - "Count on Me" in particular. I was standing in a bakery, enjoying a chocolate tea cup when I received the news of Whitney Houston's untimely death. Like most of the world, I'm stunned and saddened. While some people prefer to dwell on her drug abuse problems, there's one undeniable fact: this woman has made an indelible mark on American R&B music.
I was in 5th grade when "Waiting to Exhale" came out. As the sole Asian girl in a class of mostly black females, I bought this soundtrack as an effort to fit in. Because we didn't have cable at home, I could never engage in the recess conversation about Nick at Night or the Mickey Mouse Club. At some point, I must've said that I would damned if I was gonna be left out again. So, I trekked to my local Wal-mart, bought it with my allowance, and put this CD on repeat.
What began as an exercise in conformity turned into an obsession. While most of the tracks are mellow love songs typical of the 90s, I would jam and dance when Brandy's "Sittin' Up in My Room" blasted out of the speakers. One day, I started the recess sing-along with Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry" - a highlight of the year worthy enough to write in my diary. For our fifth grade graduation, we chose "Count On Me" as our class song, hoping to signify the close bonds we had forged as a class.
Today, I have little contact with my former classmates. But as I listen to this song, so many years later, I like to think that Amaka or Michael or Tabitha is out there, listening to it too.
Wearing: Johnny Hates Jazz sweater, Spicy Color pleated skirt, scarf from Korean market, brown riding boots from Korean boutique
Credit: Maria and Becca for the photos