Brandy Norwood aka just Brandy turns 34 today. I was a Brandy fan during the high point of her popularity around 1998. This was fifteen years ago which means two things: One, I was nine and two, I’m not anymore. Like any young Brandy fan, I loved her music as well as her foray into film. Personally, I was lukewarm on Moesha, but to each nine-year-old, their own. In honor of Brandy’s birthday, I decided to look back on two memories that made this time in our (mine and Brandy’s) lives so special.
“The Boy Is Mine”
If you were a young girl in 1998, at some point you probably watched the “The Boy is Mine” video with a friend and decided which of you was Brandy and which was Monica. Girls really like choosing “which one you are” of something. “I’m Ginger Spice!” “I’m the pink Power Ranger!” I can’t explain it, but it’s natural and it happens. When it came to “The Boy is Mine,” my memory is fuzzy, but I had a friend at this time that looked a lot like Brandy so I was probably Monica by default.
I accept my defeat and still like the video. It’s great for a number of reasons. Crazy split screens and flip around camera moves. That part where they sing up in each other’s faces. Use of house phones. But the best part is the twist ending. Mekhi Phifer shows up at Brandy’s house… and Monica is on the other side of the door with her! This taught us young girls that we should always stick together against scheming men instead of fighting each other. Unless you didn’t see the video and just heard the song on the radio, because the lyrics do not imply that message at all.
That Time She Was Cinderella
In 1997, Brandy starred in a made-for-tv version of Cinderella. I owned it on VHS and I have no idea how many times I watched it, but the number is somewhere between five and a lot. It was, to use 1997 terms, the bomb. I was not even a fairytale kinda girl, but this was live action and a musical! It was intensely multicultural, and for a young biracial girl, that was amazing. Brandy was Cinderella, obviously. She had one black and one white step-sister. The prince was Asian and his parents were played by Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber. Jason Alexander was also in this movie. Oh, and the fairy godmother was played by freakin’ Whitney Houston in a gold sequin gown.
You do not see casts like this for made-for-tv movies today. It was a musical, so of course scenes randomly broke into song. I remember one scene in particular where Brandy uses her Cinderella broom as a prop to act out the lyrics. I’m not saying I did this in my house with a broom. But I’m not saying I didn’t either. The movie was pretty and colorful and fun and I would totally
watch it right now if I could show it to my future child.
Happy birthday Brandy! Thanks for the memories! I think I’ll go grow up now.