Did you catch Oprah's show on teen idols? OMG, I loved that! It took me back to my prepubescent days, when happiness was as simple as a new issue of Tiger Beat magazine. Well, during Shaun Cassidy's segment (Squee!), this black woman stood up, nearly shivering with excitement. She was a Shaun fan from back in the day. She was even clutching an old ticket stub from a concert. (Jealous!)
Oprah seemed a bit taken aback that this black woman used to scream for the most vanilla of the Cassidy brothers (See David for something a bit more edgy). "What was going on in your neighborhood?" Oprah intoned. I was a little offended by that. Cause that woman? Totally me. (Can't a sister love a man with pretty, feathered hair in tight, satin pants?) My best friend Carol and I were always the lone black girls (or two of a very few) at the concert. The Rick Springfield concert. The Duran Duran concert. The Wham concert.
Carol and I were talking about that episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show last night. And--not that it would have changed our love for Shaun & Co.--but we can't recall any black teen idols of our generation (middle of X). We were too young to get in on the Jackson 5 craze. We were too old to dig New Edition. I feel like the black music of my under 10 years was music for grown folks. The year I first asked for music at Christmas, I got albums (Look it up, kids.) by Barry White and Earth, Wind and Fire. Now, I know a lot of women found Barry's baritone super sexy, but the man was definitely grown and sexy. Not so much for the eight-year-olds, y'know.
During his Oprah appearance, Shaun Cassidy says that 30- and 40-something women often run up to him all aglow and excited. He says it's kind of cool that even though these women are all grown up, at that moment, you can see the happy, carefree 13-year-old in them. And you know that's true if you watched the show and saw Oprah lose it over Jackie Jackson (of the Jacksons). I found myself grinning like an idiot during the whole show--even watching the acts that I never gave two figs about (Backstreet Boys...though "I Want it That Way" is the bomb)--because it took me back and gave me the warm fuzzies. Made me feel like a little Tami, hunkering down on Sunday night to watch The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and giggle over Cassidy and Parker Stevenson.
Like I said, I was too young to have experienced the Jackson 5's hey day. Although, I remember some of my earliest issues of Tiger Beat tried to make some sort of sexy off between the Jacksons and the Osmonds happen. I always thought that was weird. I mean the Osmonds? They were too squeaky clean even for my six-year-old self. And, I mean, save Donny and Marie, what other Osmond is lust-worthy? Merle?
You know what other teen idols I didn't understand? The Bay City Rollers. A more random-looking group of dudes I have never seen. We had a babysitter named Carla who totally loved Les McKeown no matter how much I explained that Shaun Cassidy was a million times cuter.
Now, this is more like it!
The 80s, and middle and high school, brought more quality crushes.
Dr. Noah Drake, anyone?
The dawn of MTV unleashed my love of pale, skinny English boys in makeup. Oh God, did I love some Duran Duran. I was a Nick girl, in case you were wondering. The night I saw them in concert at the Rosemont Horizon was the pinnacle of my fan girl career. Soon I would age out of the teen idol thing. I shifted my attention to real boys and cotillions and college and stuff, but not before seeing Wham! on that group's final tour.
My sister, four years younger, was not as obsessive as I was, but she did have a few Bobby Brown posters on the wall. And. I. Will. Not. Let. Her. Forget. It.
This Christmas, my niece asked for Justin Bieber's autobiography (I know...I know...). And so, the tradition continues.