I Had A Crush On 1983 Michael Jackson In 1993 Because My Religious Parents Kept Me In A Pop Culture Time Warp » VSB

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I Had A Crush On 1983 Michael Jackson In 1993 Because My Religious Parents Kept Me In A Pop Culture Time Warp

Michael Jackson poses with his pet boa constrictor Sept. 15, 1987. (Liaison)


I grew up in a rather religious household to reformed Born Again, Evangelical Charismatic, Non-Denominational Christians. I know, that’s a mouthful, right? Like most folks, on Sunday we went to morning service. Unlike most people we were back later that same day for afternoon service or, “Church Part Two: Electric Boogaloo” as I mockingly referred to it. On Wednesday we went to bible study where we learned about church stuff the pastor failed to mention that past Sunday. There was also monthly building fund meetings, praise and worship rehearsals for my mother and that summer my parents made me go to Vacation Bible Camp even though I honestly would have preferred a trip to Camp Crystal Lake. My family was serious about our church thing, religiously so, and yes I wrote this entire post just to make that cheesy ass joke- fight me.  f you came thru la casa chances are Benny Hinn in all his peanut butter charlatan glory was on the TV knocking Theresa from Toledo out of her wheelchair or kicking the crutches out from underneath Barry from Boca Raton. In the name of Jayzus, be healed! Ashamana high I justbought a Honda!

It should come to no surprise then that my parents drew a very bold line in the sand separating our family of believers (and me) and the secular world. We were to be in the world but not of the world. Which sucked because the world had all the best stuff.  We didn’t get cable until I was damn near a teenager because of the plethora of options available to watch filth flarn filth on HBO and Alex Mack was teaching that witchcraft on Nickelodeon. We were very tardy for the party and Clarissa had already been done explained it all.  

Music was another medium where the devil laid his wicked mindfields. Rap music, unless it was Christian rap, was a def no-no in our household. Most of my music was either borrowed from friends or recorded off the radio on cassette when my parents were asleep. You need that radio-edited version of “Mo Money, Mo Problems” with the DJ talking over the best part? Holler at ya scholar! It was hard growing up without secular music. It made me a social outcast at school often. That was until we got our first babysitter. Her name was Tara and all I wanna say is that she aint really care about us. Like AT ALL. My parents would go out for the night and leave us with pizza money and strict instructions on what we were allowed to watch. Tara would nod and then promptly invite her friends over to eat all of our pizza and watch music videos on VHS tapes that she had recorded off of BET or The Box. That’s how I figured out there was more than one Dr. Dre and that neither of them were equipped to perform open-heart surgery.

I wanted to snitch on Tara so much but as snitches get stitches and Tara intimidated me more than that time Kristi Thomas called Mallory Pike the n-word, I kept my mouth shut. When my parents finally caught wise and fired Tara, they got rid of all the secular music in the house. This was rough for everyone as both of my parents were former late 70’s/early 80’s funk/soul musicians who gave up Earth Wind and Fire for the the Eucharist. Basically there was no Prince, no Stevie, no Chaka and for us kids that meant no Crazy, no Sexy, no Cool. No bueno!

My father did allow us to make one exception in the form of a certain incredibly popular late 80s Thriller follow-up album titled Bad. Maybe you’ve heard of it? We weren’t allowed to listen to Thriller because, even though Michael Jackson said it didn’t, my dad thought it promoted the occult. But we could “Smooth Criminal” all night long if the holy spirit moved us. And moved us it did. My younger brothers and I spent hours listening to the Bad album, practicing our dance moves to each track. We had a jazzy Alvin Ailey-like routine worked up for numbers like “You’re Just Another Part Of Me” and “Liberian Girl”. Being the oldest sibling I choreographed all of our moves and I chastised my poor baby brothers whenever they missed a step. Why was it so important to me, you ask? Well, good question!

You see, even though the Bad album came out in 1987 and my family was living in the early nineties, we were behind the times. We were so far behind the secular times in fact that us kids never got the memo that Jackson-Five era Michael Jackson with his handsome Black features who had morphed into what we’ll just refer to as late 80’s Puerto Rican Pecan MJ had now turned into something all-together… different. The Michael Jackson in my head at the time still looked like the dashing guy with the strong cleft-chin who punked Wesley Snipes on the subway. And that version of him was apparently the man of a young Jordie’s dreams, even if he was a lot little eccentric. So we practiced and practiced and practiced some more because I was in love. With Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson from Gary, Indiana. And I just knew that someday I would meet the man and he would ask me if I had any moves and I would reply, “Why, yes, Michael. I do have moves” and then he would take me on tour with him at which point he would fall helplessly and hopelessly in love with me. I continued this unrequited crush for over a year watching the “Dirty Diana” scene from the Moonwalker home video until that tape popped.

Finally, a little over a year later, my family and I gathered in the den to watch the premier of Michael’s new single, “Jam.” My parents had relaxed a little bit on the secular music ban as I had started to sneak more rap and pop into the home and they got tired of throwing away my several pirated copies of Krush Groove. We were all excited to see MJ’s new video which we heard featured Michael Jordan. I’m pretty sure they cut into an episode of The Urkel to premiere the video too so that shows you how big of a deal this all was to America at the time. Not just us. My heart was racing because I was still holding out hope that one day Michael would discover me and put me in a video and then make me his Queen To Be. My dad hushed us as the video began.



“Who the hell is that guy?!” I screamed.

I was sent to my room without being allowed to finish the video. I was actually good with that. I couldn’t figure out what exactly about him had changed. Let me rephrase that. Of course, I knew he had undergone some major changes but he still more or less looked like the Captain EO I knew and loved. More or less. But something was different. And just like that I stopped fantasizing about Michael Jackson and I driving away together. Besides, I was pretty sure his sister was the cooler one in the family anyway.

Jordan Kauwling

Jordan Kauwling is an early thirties Philadelphian but she tells everyone she’s in her late thirties because she doesn’t understand how math works. When she’s not busy writing, singing, eating all the falafel or unsuccessfully finishing another craft project you can catch her talking junk on Twitter.

  • I’m a second generation pastors kid and I’m glad my parents and grandparents didn’t believe in sheltering their children. We were allowed and encouraged to listen to everything.

    • cyanic

      Which led you to the path you’re on now!

      • Finding Playboy mags in elementary school got me like this. That and Supafly.

        • Kylroy

          Gonna guess your folks didn’t explicitly hand those to you.

          • Heavens no. I don’t know how I was so off the chain in Elementary. I was hunching and everything.

            • cyanic

              You’re off the chain now. All the spirits your family repressed in themselves jump into you as a host.

              • I think so. I’m as based and debauched as can be.

                • cyanic

                  You’re so matter of fact. How did you decide to settle down and marry?

                  • I haven’t and I won’t. Marriage seems like ownership to me and I need to be free to run and play. I need to chill with these song references.

                    • cyanic

                      What’s your sign again? You might be the most carefree of us all. And Todd gets it in with strangers in the middle of nowhere conjuring up wizards from all the over nasty activity.

                    • I’m a Taurus. I’m not as carefree as I’d like. There are just some things that I have to experience in life. Like adult pillow forts and getting ran by sisters, some things just have to happen.

                    • cyanic

                      Laughs. Did you b’day just pass?

                    • Yup on the seventeenth.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          Finding High Society / Oui Mag > Finding Playboy Mag

        • BrothasKeeper

          I only read Playboy for the articles. They helped me become more…………..informed.

          • The articles were surprisingly good. Hef is one of my idols.

            • BrothasKeeper

              True story: I used a Playboy article as reference material on a college term paper. I got an A+.

              • Kylroy

                That honestly doesn’t surprise me much. Hugh Hefner assembled a pretty impressive team of writers for Playboy…which makes it kinda sad that their primary purpose was making people feel better about buying nude photos.

                • BrothasKeeper

                  And in the grand scheme, the nudity was very artfully photographed and tasteful. It’s unfortunate that American society is so repressed.

              • I read his autobiography. Hef had a knack for finding great writers.

  • Amen

    Yo…….you lived at my house fam? LOL…1st 3 paragraphs was my dang biography. Shoutout to recording Hard Knock Life off the radio lol

  • Kat

    You po baby. He dead now so….


    • miss t-lee

      Goodness gracious.

      • Kat

        What? He is deaded….

        • miss t-lee

          Yeah, but still.

        • cedriclathan

          …just the facts, mame.

    • siante


    • Sheesh!

    • BrothasKeeper

      Cold. LoL

    • Vanity in Peril

      Always gon’ be too soon.


      • Kat

        I sorry

  • Kat

    Went to church from birth to about 15…almost every Sunday. Was in the Sunshine Band. Vacation Bible School. All that. I do not go today. Cause of all that. And the sinning. All the sinning…that them members be doing..lol Pentecostal aka COGIC with rules and regulations for worshiping the Lord.

  • Emily Harris

    For the entire first paragraph I though somehow I must have fallen asleep and written this without knowing it. It’s like we grew up in the same house. But mercifully somewhere around middle school my Dad starting feeling like we needed a little more than Psalty the Singing Song Book (yes, that is a thing) for entertainment. I thought my Mom was going to birth an entire rhinoceros when he decided that we could watch In Living Color because we needed black comedy in our lives (as long as he was with us while watching to screen for content, which bless him, he didn’t do too much of). He still un-spooled my brothers NWA tape that he managed to sneak into the house and nearly whooped me when LL’s Doin It was playing on my boombox while I was doing my homework but I was thankful the reins had been loosened.

    • siante

      “For the entire first paragraph I though somehow I must have fallen asleep and written this without knowing it.”

      Same here

    • RagesAgainstMachines

      I cannot count the number or tapes and albums my parents destroyed of mine, startting with NWA when I was in Jr. High… and all through high school. My mom got so sick of trying to filter stuff than when she found one, EVERYTHING had to go. She broke my MC Hammer album and it wasn’t even nasty lol.

      My baby sister was raised on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon… she blames me.

      • Giantstepp

        Not sure if I had a bad mother now because she had NO clue to what I was listening too. Or maybe she was “normal”. Anyway, I can’t call it.

        • MsCee

          I’m questioning the same thing. Keith Sweat being blasted on Saturday morning meant the cleaning up was about to begin. Lol, mama was h e l l a hip.

          • Quirlygirly

            LOL..My mom blasted Gladys Knight or WBLS(the old station).I knew cleaning was about to commence.

        • cdj

          I thought my mom didn’t know either, until someone mentioned Method Man in front of her a few years ago. She goes, “Oh, The Wu Tang! They’re still around?”

          Turns out when she wasnt listening to Bobby Blue Bland and Howlin Wolf, She also listened to the Enter the 36 Chambers tape I left in her car.

    • Kim

      lmao listening Doin’ It wild while you we’re doing your homework

      • Emily Harris

        And did not know he was home. I thought for sure he was going to break my boombox, I felt lucky when it was still intact, my face however, was holding on for dear life, he snatched all the smiles and smirks that I thought about having that day.

    • MsCee

      This makes me think my mama was just loose as h e l l with her parenting. She whooped me once for watching Jerry Springer but dasit. Tales from the Crips, secular music etc, was all cool. Funny thing is we went to church every Sunday religiously. Did all the prayer meets, revivals etc.

      • Kylroy

        Seems like she was just beating you for poor taste.

        • MsCee

          I’m from the deep country. I’d NEVER seen anything like that growing up. Cut me some slack!

          • Kylroy

            Nobody saw anything like that, because Springer was to, I dunno, Geraldo, what WWE is to MMA.

      • My parents were strict about a lot of stuff except tv and music.. but they also talked openly with us.

        • BrothasKeeper

          My folks, as stern and forthcoming as they were, were too timid to talk about thecks. The conversation around that was, from my mom, “Don’t have thecks”, and from my dad, “don’t wait too late to pull out”.

          • Literally… they were no holds barred… we also FEARED THEM..lol

      • cedriclathan

        Grandmother was very religious. Christmas morning she was sleeping on the couch in the living room by the tree. I got a lil red record player and my sister got James Browns “I feel good” on a 45. Cranked that muh up to 11, and the opening, “HEY” rolled granny right off the couch. We laughed so hard, moms and pops couldn’t even spank us.

        • MsCee

          Lol, the visual!

      • SB

        I know you meant Tales from the Crypt, but I lol’d thinking about Tales from the Crips. I’m imagining old-ass gangbangers telling horror stories.

        • MsCee

          Nah. Tales from the Crips was a real thing. And it’s exactly how you described it. Lol

        • MsCee

          Ok, mybad it was Tales from the Hood not the Crips…lol.

          • SB

            Ha, I remember that movie! “Welcome to hayle, motherfuggassss!”

          • Emily Harris

            I assumed it was an album sequel or something to Bangin on Wax, I just figured I ain’t know. Hahahahaha

    • Deekiemack

      I just got SO excited about Psalty the Singing Song Book! I just saw this horrible children’s choir, and thought, “They need some Psalty in their lives!” :-)

      • Emily Harris

        So I’m NOT alone!! hahahahaha

    • Gibbous

      My (White) grandmother had an console stereo record player and a sizeable 45 collection. She liked to play a lot of 70s and 80s top 40, but also some older music too. (We also watched American Bandstand and Solid Gold at her house too.) Her mother was apparently friends with Chubby Checkers, so of course we did the twist and other dances of that time period.

      Living in Rural upstate NY, there was no R&B or even rap on the radio. You had to listen to French Canadian radio for that, in French and not until the late 80s either.

    • Regina

      I was just the opposite. My parents were Baptist until they “got saved” when I was 11. Out when the Gloria Vandervelts and in came the plaid wool skirts.

  • Sigma_Since 93
    • Kylroy

      I think there’s a *distant* possibility that Thomas may drift leftward without Scalia breathing down his neck. But it takes at least two points to make a line.

      • Shay


      • Cheech

        Scalia never breathed down his neck. If anything, it was the other way around. Scalia himself used to say, you think I’m hard, this guy is crazy.

        • Jbjbjbjbj

          Way way way much more than meets the eye. Proud to have him be of service.

    • cyanic

      Nope. I saw what he did but it wasn’t for our group’s betterment. I’m sure some YT he cares about said no to it.

    • NotToday
    • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin

      Damn GOP y’all gerrymandered NC so openly you made Clarence Thomas remember he’s black.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      Broken clock is right twice a day. I think the arguments on both sides are problematic from a black perspective because they are trying to get around not talking about race.

    • Lucille A Bluth

      No. His legal reasoning is still garbage.

      He believes that, yes, they shouldn’t have contemplated race in the redistricting as a predominating factor (good thing), but he also believes that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (the part where you can’t use a practice or procedure to dilute results/disenfranchise people based on race/other protected classes) doesn’t apply to redistricting, which is RIDICULOUS and defeats the intent of the Act.

    • Brown Rose

      H*ll no. He’s going back to his dusty white sepulchre soon enough. The old nasty vampire.

  • grownandsexy2

    I ain’t ever crushed on Michael, but I love his music. Just a few short years ago, my grand and I were having a conversation about Janet and I forget exactly what I said, but she surmised that Michael was Janet’s brother. Up until that time, she thought Michael was white. Hilarious. I’ll never forget the look on her face and her forehead kinda shifted in the way it does when one is really surprised. “Nanny, Michael is Black?” . . . . . . . . . . . .”Umm, yeah baby, he is.” So me being the good nanny that I am, I went back in my archives and pulled out some pictures of MJ when he Black.

  • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin


    Good article on the Virginia gubernatorial primary. Its sort of a Hillary vs. Bernie again. I like Pillerello and unlike a lot of leftists candidates he actually has a strong shot winning an election.

  • It’s so interesting to hear about other ppls lives and childhoods. My mom was a MAJOR MJ fan…so I was privy to ALL his stages (and am a pretty significant fan by default…he’s a part of my life). I can’t imagine the shock you must have felt being that…you had a static image of him in your mind that was severely outdated LMAO.

    Like when you see your old highschool crush years later…and those years have not been kind :(

    • siante

      “you had a static image of him in your mind that was severely outdated LMAO”

      poor thing, I felt her pain during this story lol!

  • cheddachasa

    I’ll never forget the day when my friend’s mom almost kicked us out of the car because RUN-DMC had the nerve to call the competition suckers. I never knew that was a swear word.

    • cyanic

      We weren’t allowed to say dang. And swearing in 80s kids movies meant turning off the tape.

    • Kylroy

      …it was? I mean, it’s been floating around as a name for marks since the late 1800s. Weird.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      As a grown up, I get it.

      “They” changed cork blocker into player hater.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      I got to do the “I got it from you” to my Mom when she asked who bought me that Two Live Crew trash

    • MsSula

      I still can’t swear in the language we speak at home. I just am physically unable to. English not being my first language, I will swear up and down (mostly writing though). My parents were very strict on language especially. And I am a product of church upbringing. :-)

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