One of the things I’ve always loved to do is dance. I would learn all the moves I could in the music videos that played on VH-1 and MTV. Back then, they only played videos. And my cable service didn’t carry BET until I was a teenager. So mainly I would emulate the black music videos that incorporated dance, such as Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Salt-N-Pepa, and so on. This was from the mid-80′s to the mid-90′s.
My favorite dance video of all time is Janet’s “The Pleasure Principle.” I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about in the song, but the video had me mesmerized. It was just her dancing in an empty warehouse, full of passion, but not wearing anything revealing or suggestive– just a cinched tee shirt, jeans, and sneakers, with her hair bone-straight. You couldn’t tell me anything when that video came on, and if I did have a friend over talking to me or playing with me, it all stopped as soon as that song came on. The coffee table got pushed to the side, and before long my glasses would fly off across the room doing those moves. The only thing I couldn’t do was the back flip off the chair. And even now at 32 years old, I have no problem with it if I ever occasionally see the video again. And I don’t own a coffee table.
But we all know that sexually suggestive music videos and songs were around even then, way before the heat in recent years from the blatantly violent, misogynistic hip hop videos came along. Being that MTV used to play a lot of rock videos, I would constantly see images of white women with hoses, or lying around on cars, even though rap and hip hop had not yet started to become popular there. So this stuff didn’t start with hip hop.