December 4, 2023

Ever since the release of “The Boy Is Mine” on May 19,1998, we have established our allegiances to one of the two vocalists. The acrimonious duet, wherein two acquaintances discover they are vying for the affection of the same gentleman, firmly and indelibly cemented the two young artists within the cultural consciousness of an entire generation. For many of us, this Verzuz is a culmination of a 22 year battle between two formidable R&B divas.

We have waited for this moment.

Whether you are sittin’ up in your room having one of them days, reflecting on the time when you loved somebody so much that you would lay your life on the line, or remembering that angel of yours turned into an angel in disguise, you must admit that—regardless of your chosen side of the aisle—you are here for BOFFUM.

In the eight months of 2020, we have endured more communal suffering than any of us could have ever imagined. The collective trauma is multilayered and self-extending. The pandemic has exacerbated the persistent disparities in socioeconomic welfare. The resurgence of racial, State-sanctioned violence has reminded us that our lives are disposable in America. The Fall 2020 back-to-school protocols have highlighted the historical and ubiquitous inequities in our education system. In the past couple weeks alone, we have witnessed the attempted murder of Jacob Blake at the hands of police and the unfortunate passing of Chadwick Boseman.

Amid the storm of continued and unabashed racism, amid the persistent health insecurity in a country whose administration has defied that public health recommendations of experts, and amid the collective mourning of a bastion of Black representation: WE NEED THIS.

I am thankful for our cultural icons. I am thankful for our music. I am thankful for an adolescence overflowing with fond memories of 90s/2000s Hip-Hop and R&B. I am thankful for our community. I am thankful for our vibe. I am thankful that the heaviness of being Black in America can be temporarily forgotten when the beat drops. I am thankful for the levity in our movements as we recall all of the lyrics, the ad-libs, and the choreography from our favorites.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to take this deep breath, smile, sip my bourbon, and relish in the music of both Brandy Rayana and Monica Denise as I vibe with Black folks far and wide.

Thank you, ladies, for giving us this moment.

Oh. One more thing: #TEAMBRANDY

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