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Thoughts In Prose: Why Kelis Matters

February 1, 2010

Ten years have passed since Kelis came kicking and screaming “Caught Out There”.  A breath of fresh air with a quirkiness that was as endearing as her beauty.  She marched to her own drum, spoke her mind and made her own style of music. Kelis was the talk of the town and the chatter supersedes her.

Seth Godin, the author of Purple Cow, a highly successful marketing book comes to mind when I think about Kelis. In Purple Cow Godin discusses how success lies in the ability of a product to be remarkable, INNOVATIVE and worth talking about.

Kelis then, was the Purple Cow of my adolescence.

Last week,  Kelis attended the Data Awards, where she wore a latex jumpsuit, long gray braid/tail and a pair of Alexander McQueen armadillo hooves. She flew way off the radar – appearing very animalistic at best.

So why so much clamor?  We’re talking about Kelis here- she’s never fit into a box of normalcy. Why expect her to now?

It has a little something to do with a new Purple Cow grazing in the pastures. Its name is Lady Gaga and ironically, society barely has the brain capacity to deal with her.

Lady Gaga picked up where Kelis left off after she decided to play house with then-hubby, Nas. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with settling down but we live in a society full of ADD/ADHD consumers who’ve forgotten about her Kaleidoscope – or they didn’t know her to begin with.

Before Rihanna and Lady Gaga, there was Kelis. Before Kelis there was Bjork. Before Bjork, there was Madonna, Cher and Grace Jones. Every generation has a style star – Kelis is ours.

But this isn’t about my age group. This is about the younger folk who like Taylor Swift more than Beyonce (Hello, Grammys), were born with laptops in hand and cell phones attached to their ears.  It’s a whole new ball game and when it comes to Kelis and her Milkshake, it’s no match for the Fame Monster.

I wonder what inspired Kelis to wear this outfit. Maybe she wanted to have a bit of fun – or maybe, who am I kidding, I have the slightest clue. This is a woman who wore a black and gold bomber jacket with the words “N%^#A” on it to promote Nas’ album with the same title.  Kelis clearly doesn’t do subdued – even if her life depended on it. And realistically, we shouldn’t ever expect her to.

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