Sister Act 2 Is Our Aesthetic

Sister Act 2 is the closest thing I’ll get to a time machine to my childhood. I’m definitely not from San Francisco, but I grew up going to Catholic schools and living in the “inner city” in the 1990s — so, pretty damn close. It’s also pure proof that the ’90s fashion revival is warranted. Those fashionable teens are still cooler than me at 30, just like they were in 1993 when I was 7. Our previous aesthetic posts include The Holiday (winter), Matilda (Back To School) and The Witches (Halloween). It’s been a while, so let’s get back in the habit (SORRY).

Lauryn Hill At Full Lauryn Hill

Just had to discuss this right out the gate. Lauryn Hill will always be the ultimate teen vocal/rap/songwriter sensation, even though she’s a grandma now (yeah. I feel old too. Remember To Zion? He’s a dad!). Sister Act 2 marks the musical moment when His Eye Is On The Sparrow entered all our favorite hymn lists. Sister Mary Round-Brush Bangs is right. Please don’t stop.

Everyone’s Under-Choir Robe Outfits

When the instruction comes to take off the choir robes, my teen reaction would’ve been “oh, no.” That’s because if I was wearing a choir robe, underneath I’d have on either something boring and schlubby, or something that was guaranteed not to peek out from the gown. These kids are in their full 1993 mall-outfit best. The two young ladies at far left ALONE. They look like they crawled off of 2017 tumblr and onto the screen.

 Specifically Lauryn Hill’s Outfit

It’s not so much that it’s classic – those mom jeans would’ve been majorly out of style for a good decade plus – but that this outfit has completely circled back into looking current again.

How The Choir Room Is Some Sort Of Attic

You keep waiting for the scene where they paint it or at least knock down the cobwebs, but nope. It’s always just kind of an attic for some reason. It’s a look.

This Rooftop Situation

It always seemed so cool to have a rooftop at school to hang out in. Not sure why everything at this school is so high up, but not complaining either.

When Ahmal Gets Really Into It In Oh Happy Day

He might be crusty, but Ahmal’s got that joy down in his heart. Did you know that actor Ryan Toby went on to sing in City High, who did that song “What Would You Do” (if your son was at home, crying all alone… yeah, it’s in my head now, too)? It was totally new information to me.

Ahmal’s Cultural Appropriation Speech

Ahmal was the woke one. You can tell because he is wearing the Woke Kid Uniform of 1993 and because he delivers a speech on cultural appropriation, which, yes, was a thing in the ’90s as well.

Can’t you come up with your own thing? Why must you continually come behind my people and steal our expressions? First jazz, then rock n roll, now rap? What’s next?

The Way Fancy Hotels Looked In 1993

We touched on this in our discussion of Curly Sue: fancy looked different in the early 90s. I’d almost say the era was peak fancy. There was a lot of gold plating and dusty pastels. I don’t know. I just love how this was the epitome of a really good hotel in 1993.

Sister Mary Clarence’s Minimalist Nun Cell

In 1993 this was like a prison room to die in; in 2017 it’s a minimalist studio to die for. And in San Francisco? The Catholic Church could only afford it by selling some Vatican artwork.

Richard’s Outfits

I feel like when anyone talks about ‘classic style’ they mean, like, polo shirts or suits, but consider this: this movie turns 24 years old this year (?!) and in any point since it was released, this outfit would’ve looked current.

Bonus: Baby Jennifer Love Hewitt smearing her mascara (?) behind him.

Uniform Adaptations

Never would’ve been allowed in any of my schools, but lots of fun and very reflective of real-life 90s style. Round sunglasses, hat bills flipped up, backwards snapbacks.

The Credit Sequence

So iconic, it was spoofed on Broad City and we all instantly got the reference.

Everything

From my notes during my rewatch: “The best part of Sister Act is the montage where they fix things up. The best part of Sister Act 2 is EVERYTHING.”

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Cynthia Erivo

Happy June, friends! I’m following up Motivation Monday with another installment of Woman Crush Wednesday, and this one goes to the fabulous Cynthia Erivo, who has become a breakout star in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. So much so that she’s earned her first Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical (and won a couple awards for it too). What that means is that you should probably be paying attention to her. She’s out of this world. And here are just a few reasons why:

The Color Purple

Let’s start with her current job, shall we? Cynthia plays Celie, the main character of The Color Purple (played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie). If you’ve never seen the musical, just know it’s V emotional, and Cynthia recently performed one of the most heart-wrenching numbers in the show called I’m Here on Stephen Colbert. You should probably grab some tissues before clicking play on this one.

RIP Prince

Cynthia is part of an amazing cast which includes Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) and Jennifer Hudson (who’s since left), so when the holy trinity and the rest of the stellar cast took the stage the night Prince died, it was only fitting for a show titled The Color Purple sing Purple Rain in the best way they knew how. Take ’em to church, fam.

JHud’s Successor

Speaking of Jennifer Hudson… I don’t think you’re allowed to become a Broadway diva or true belter if you don’t sing your own version of And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls. This was pre-The Color Purple on Broadway (Cynthia played Celie in the 2013 production of the show), but months later, she was sharing the stage with the same woman who won an Oscar for this role in the movie. And now they’re besties (just watch this tribute song to Jennifer for her last show). It’s cute. This video, however – is fierce.

Following in Whoopi’s Footsteps

Although she’s been an actress/singer for years, her big break didn’t come until 2011, when she played Delores VanCartier/Sister Mary Clarence in the UK tour of the Sister Act musical. If you’re thinking a Sister Act musical would be no bueno, I assure you it’s more entertaining than you think, and the score is delightfully delightful. Just like the movie, Delores is the main character of the story, and in the musical, her songs are infused with a lot of gospel-tinged tracks. Like this finale number which looks ridic out of context but is better in the show itself. Cynthia werks those runs like no one’s business.

She’s Superwoman, It’s Fine

If you go through Cynthia’s Instagram, the ratio of gym to regular pix is like 4 to 1. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s #goals. Woman is not messing around. Her tickets to the gun show sell out faster than to The Color Purple. She recently ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon. And then went off for a two show day. SHE RAN 12.1 MILES THEN SANG AND DANCED AND ACTED FOR TWO SHOWS WHAT EVEN. I can’t even run a single mile then be expected to work at a desk for the rest of the day my GOD.

She’ll Out Sing You At A Bar

Just once I’d like to be in a bar where Cynthia Erivo decides to randomly belt out a tune in front of all the people. Here she is singing a song from one of my favorite shows, The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. JRB’s music isn’t the easiest to sing, but she makes it seem like she’s effortlessly belting the ABCs or something. For you JRB-heads out there, Cynthia was also in another one of his shows, Songs for a New World, along with her boyfriend Dean John-Wilson (who is legit Aladdin. in London).

She Slays

If you weren’t left impressed with the Jason Robert Brown, maybe a Beyonce cover will help? We all know Beyonce kills her vocals, and there are millions of people on YouTube who try to do as well as her. But when Cynthia does it, she makes me believe the song was meant for her (no disrespect to my queen B). But simply put, Cynthia slays.

SLIMED: A ’90s Kids’ Choice Awards Retrospective

The Kids’ Choice Awards air this weekend, even though it is 2015. See, the Kids’ Choice Awards – a Nickelodeon awards show where B-list celebrities get doused with green slime – were such a ’90s staple that it’s hard to imagine them continuing after our childhoods ended. It’s like visiting your old elementary school and seeing children using your old classrooms as though they’re just theirs. But time marches on, and so does cable children’s programming – but this time, there’s no Rosie O’Donnell, Jim Carey, or LL Cool J (which, when I think about it… were we children, or a bunch of middle-aged women?) As far as I’m concerned, though, the 90s were the definitive decade of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

1990

The ’90s didn’t know what they wanted to be yet, so they were still acting like the ’80s. If you’re inclined to think 1990 isn’t that long ago, think again: Back To The Future Part II won Favorite Movie Actor and Actress… yes, a movie set in the “future” that is 2015. Candace Cameron hosted. Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) got slimed, and so did Internet fav Wil Wheaton.

Also, New Kids On The Block were too busy and important to accept their award, but they appeared via satellite, and to kids in 1990, it felt like the future was now.

1991

These awards were hosted by Corin Nemec, a person I hadn’t heard of until right now because I was too young to watch Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. Winners included the Simpsons – which I remember being super “edgy” at the time, so my siblings and I were allowed to watch it, but not downstairs (in case someone respectable came over? not sure) – as well as Will Smith and Keshia Knight Pulliam. Maybe it’s just because 1991 is one of the first years I can really remember any pop culture stuff from, but the rest of the winners hold up surprisingly well over time: Home Alone, Kindergarten Cop, Michael Jordan, and Pretty Woman.

1992

90s kids, now’s when you should really start paying attention: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Robin Williams in Hook. Doug. Roseanne. Sonic the Hedgehog. In my neon-tinted memories, the 1992 Kids’ Choice Awards are how I remember the early ’90s. Elsewhere in the world the Gulf War was raging, grunge was in its meteoric rise into the mainstream, and the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill saga cast a pall over the upcoming presidential election. But it was 1992, and all us kids wanted was to consume Cheeetos, Pop-Tarts and Ecto Cooler in our stirrup pants while shooting scrunchies at our siblings and watching people get slimed.

So it’s no surprise that when 1992 kids were asked to make a time capsule, it looked like this:

1993

Do you have any of those shows or movies that you remember, but nobody else really does? For me, one of those shows is Roundhouse, an ensemble sketch show that I was obsessed with. Well, the cast of Roundhouse performed at the ’93 Kids’ Choice Awards, so suck it, everyone! They really made it big! The awards were hosted by select cast members of 90210, remarkable because I didn’t know any kids in 1993 who were allowed to watch 90210.

If the 1993 Kids’ Choice Awards exemplify one thing, it’s the love affair mainstream America was having with hip hop and R&B. Fresh Prince was a TV show nominee, Ice Cube was a nominated actor, and Kris Kross won for favorite male group (other musical nominees: Boyz II Men, En Vogue, TLC and MC Hammer). We may be the first generation to grow up with computers, but we’re also the first generation to grow up with hip hop targeted specifically toward children.

The three little blonde boys from Home Improvement got slimed, including a pre-Tiger Beat JTT.

1994

Candace Cameron was BACK in 1994 – no holding Deej Tanner down! So was Joey Lawrence. 1994 was really the year that tiny North American children all turned into middle-aged women. Winners, nominees, and slime-ees included Home Improvement, Whitney Houston, Mrs. Doubtfire, Sister Act II, and Nancy Kerrigan. Michael Jordan won favorite male athlete for the millionth time, which makes me wonder if he was the only male athlete we had all heard of. I’m also pretty sure this was smack in the middle of that one time he “retired” for a minute and my brother melodramatically took down the framed Jordan poster from his wall, so it’s pretty amazing he was still a contender. I guess because he was pretending to be a baseball player at the time.

Anyway, in 1994 us kids were all what they called “normcore” in trend pieces written in mid-2014. Our favorite video game was Super Mario World and our favorite sports team was the Dallas Cowboys. We liked Tim Allen and Aerosmith. In that weird transitional era between the neon-tinged 80s-like early 90s, the grungy early-mid 90s, and the shiny Clueless phase, we were all the human version of plaid couches.

1995

Nobody believes me when I say this, but kids in the 90s were allowed to watch stuff that would never fly in 2015. I’m sure there are some permissive parents now, but even television specifically geared towards kids had nuclear spills (Alex Mack) and ghosts (Are You Afraid Of The Dark). Evidence of this: Kids’ Choice nominees in 1995 included Living Single, Roseanne, Speed, Forrest Gump, and Married…. With Children. And yet, the winner was still The Lion King, which is unsurprising to those of us who can remember the phenomenon.

This whole show is on Youtube, and if you either want to relive the mid-90s, or are a teen who was, at best, a baby at the time, you should watch it. With all respect to the 1992 Kids’ Choice time capsule, it is the ultimate 90s kids’ time capsule. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen won as favorite movie actress, but it kind of doesn’t seem fair because the two of them only added up to one actress. Tia and Tamera won favorite TV actress, so just a reminder, we were all a bit obsessed with twins back then.

1997

Was everyone’s mom secretly voting on their behalf? SPIN CITY, guys. Spin City was nominated. So was One Fine Day and The Preacher’s Wife. Our favorite song was the Fugees’ cover of Killing Me Softly, so at least we got that right.

Also, check out beautiful, innocent baby Amanda Bynes in the video clip above.

1998

If 1994 – 1996 was the era of the moms, 1998 was when youth culture took back the early evening. Titanic was our favorite movie – was there even a question? – and I’m sure I called in from my family’s wall phone to vote for it. Jonathan Taylor Thomas won his rightful place as favorite TV actor, and our favorite musical group was Hanson. I’m sure they just barely edged out Spice Girls. As it should be, Salem from Sabrina The Teenage Witch was the top animal star. By 1998, you were probably watching with your baby barrettes holding back the bangs you were growing out to look more like Rose Dewitt Bukater Dawson and taking notes with your pen with a giant feather puff on top. If you were really, really lucky, maybe you’d see an article about the Kids’ Choice Awards on the AOL homepage the next time you visited your aunt who had the internet.

This happened, and it remains the most 1998 thing I’ve ever seen:

Also, this:

1999

By 1999, we had made our full journey through the 90s, from almost-80s to grunge to normcore to the teen pop takeover. The 1999 awards were all boy bands, Delia*s-inspired fashion, and earnest optimism. Our favorite book was Chicken Soup For The Soul, for goodness sakes. Our favorite actors were Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, and all was right with the world. We couldn’t imagine a life beyond the 90s – no, literally, my memories begin around 1990, so anything else was unfathomable to me. But really, what more did we need?

Live Blog: Jet Blue Virgin

On my recent trip home to Rochester for Christmas, I took Jet Blue for the first time on my way back to Los Angeles. I’m a frequent American Airlines, U.S. Air, Virgin America flier, so taking an airline that many people I know rave about was exciting for me. Little did I know it was going to be this exciting.

2:15pm Making my usual last stop to get coffee and snacks before going to the land without Dunkin’ Donuts.

2:30pm Don’t have a seat. Need to check in with desk at gate. Hoping it’s on the aisle and not in the exit row.

2:50pm Get to my seat. It’s on the aisle – in an exit row.

2:55pm There’s a dog barking somewhere. It sounds small. It’s not stopping.

3:01:10pm Guy comes on and has a seat diagonal from me. Looks vaguely familiar. Comedian of some sort. Need to keep sneakily looking at him for clues as to his identity.

3:01:20pm Woman follows shortly behind and also looks familiar. Realize it’s Kathy Najimy of Hocus Pocus and Sister Act fame. Sister Mary Patrick goes too far back, and her daughter, holding a California flag iPhone case, tells her to come back. Confirms it’s SMP. Put together that generic comedian guy is SMP’s hubby.

Cover of "Sister Act"

Whoopi Goldberg, NOT Kathy Najimy

3:10pm My TV isn’t working. Ugh. Have to look around at surrounding televisions for entertainment.

3:11pm Generic Comedian Guy is checking is Facebook, and I see that his first name is Dan. Finally recognize him as Dan from The Dan Band .

3:12pm Amy, one of our flight attendants, comes to give us the Exit Row speech. She also does the safety instructions directly in front of my person, and for the first time in a while, I actually pay attention. We take off.

3:15pm Wondering when it’s a good time to tell Amy about my dysfunctional TV.

3:17pm Wondering why SMP was in ROC in the first place.

3:25pm Amy and her co-attendant Sarah start coming down the aisle with bevs and snacks. FREE SNACKS? Jet Blue is great.

3:26pm Decline free snacks.

3:28pm Sarah recognizes SMP and crouches down to tell her something. All I hear is “I love that movie.”  Then she goes to Dan and crouches again and says, “I recognize you too… Are you a comedian? The singing one? What’s your name again? Oh yeah Dan Band!” oh my gah Sarah, smh in second hand embarrassment. You’re not a Los Angeles or NYC based flight crew, are you?

3:30pm Decline free bev – tell Sarah about dysfunctional television, she slams my armrest up and down (high-tech stuff, guys). She apologizes, says we’re a full flight, otherwise she would move me. Offers a free alcoholic beverage or a voucher. I also decline alc. I just wanted to watch TV, really.

3:32pm Play Kelly Clarkson’s Catch My Breath four times in a row on my iPod.

3:36pm Sarah comes back to give me and my seatmate a $15 voucher since the TVs don’t work. The first time I ever voluntarily speak to the person sitting next to me on a flight, I say, “Good thing I said something, huh?” Seatmate gave me a thumbs up.

3:45pm Take note of programs I’m missing because of janky TV: House Hunters, iCarly, the history of donuts, Seinfeld, Dr. Phil, and some rando TV therapist named Bill with a large black woman definitely doing the z snap with head move to some other irate woman.

3:46pm Really wishing there was a Boingo hotspot on this plane (for free) so I could watch The West Wing.

3:47pm Overthinking why anyone would name a wireless airline hotspot ‘Boingo’

3:50pm Sarah comes back to Dan, and he goes to the back of the plane with her. Really wishing I could see what happened back there, but I’m assuming she took a picture with him. S.M.H.

3:59pm Why doesn’t Jet Blue have SkyMall? That’s like, the best part of flying.

4:01pm We start our descent. Thinking about investing in motion sickness meds, even though I’ve always been ok. But I’m getting old, and on the way to ROC, there was a lot of turbulence and I almost vommed (kinda like the six year old girl behind me on that flight).

4:11pm The dog barks as soon as we touchdown. And a baby starts crying. Good timing, people.

4:15pm Get into Jet Blue’s rad JFK terminal. I lost SMP and Dan, hoping they’ll be on my flight to LAX.

4:40pm Check iMDb and apparently Dan is from Bath, NY (small town near Roc), AND AND AND he went to Emerson (the college I went to)!! Def going to try to strike up convo if they’re on my flight.

4:45pm Spend the next four hours blogging, drinking as much Dunkin Donuts’ iced coffee as humanly possible, all while watching The West Wing. Sans Boingo hotspot.