Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 7/21/2017

by Just Juan
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According to Triumphs & Tribulations VI, on this day in 2006, I made a major move on The Cocoa Goddess during my 1st attempt at courting her…a move that ultimately proved unsuccessful. On this particular day, I made use of the season passes to Wild Adventures that I won in a raffle at the 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron Annual Picnic and made it a date for us. I even took a day of leave to make it happen. While riding on Cheetah, Swamp Thing, and Hangman were certainly thrilling, the highlight of the date was the surprise concert I treated her to. The headliner that evening was Rihanna. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my Rihanna fandom.

How I first came across this moment? I first came across Rihanna in March 2006, when I saw the music video for “SOS”.

What it meant to me then? I thought she was a very attractive woman with a very beautiful sound. I was intrigued enough to listen to some of her other stuff, from the Music of the Sun album, and I ended up taking a strong liking to her style. It was peppy, somewhat innocent, and just full of life. I purchased A Girl Like Me, the album from which “SOS” spawned. I remember writing in my journal that she “might be the best young female R&B artist since Aaliyah”. I was very surprised when I got word that her first-ever tour was making a stop in relatively small Valdosta…actually in really small Clyattville since that’s where Wild Adventures is. I scored the 2 tickets for only $74 combined…a good deal for good seats. That night, seeing her perform live, I realized that she was way bigger than the moment and that she had superstar written all over her…enough for her to be my #2 celebrity crush behind Cindy Herron. I even had her poster on my wall opposite of the Melyssa Ford shrine I mentioned a couple of months ago. What was supposed to be a great performer-fan dynamic for years to come turned sour in the Chavon Ward drama. When she told me that she felt like she was Rihanna in the “Unfaithful” video, I felt betrayed by a music track that I had actually liked. So I stopped listening to her music. It also didn’t help that she released Good Girl Gone Bad a few months later and it was a sound I didn’t like. I did see her at the Live Earth concert at Makuhari Messe on 07/07/07 but I didn’t know she was performing when I bought the ticket. Good thing for me, Xzibit and Linkin Park performed that concert as well. I pretty much boycotted all of her music because I got my feelings hurt…even stripped her of her status as my #2 celebrity crush. Yeah yeah, I know…it’s pretty lame. I went like 2 ½ years without hearing a Rihanna music track. That changed in December 2009, when I went to a holiday house party a friend of mine was hosting in Asagaya, Tokyo. On that particular night, one of the many music tracks that played as entertainment was Rihanna’s “Rockstar 101”. It wasn’t like I could abruptly leave the party so I had no choice but to listen. I actually happened to like the lyrics as they described how I felt about my Tokyo persona…the whole “big city, bright lights” part. That track reconciled us as I purchased the Rated R album, paving the way for Rihanna to make her first appearance in my Windows Media Player library since March 2007.

What it means to me now? It’s been 11 years since I first stumbled upon Rihanna wearing that green dress in the “SOS” video. While not as big on Rihanna the artist on account of the heavily commercialized sound, I am a huge fan of Rihanna the person. Her philanthropy and advocacy on special interest issues have certainly earned my respect big time. In fact, she’s back to being one of my celebrity crushes again…#3 behind Cindy Herron and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

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