You Remind Me

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Although I liked her first album, I was reluctant to buy Keyshia Cole’s sophomore effort. I had no doubts that it would be good; I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to throw my money behind a bitch.

Bitch might not be the most politically correct term, but it applies…or so I thought. Word got out early that Keyshia wasn’t always the nicest person to interview or greet at the mall. I myself heard a couple of interviews where she seemed salty as hell with the DJ for no apparent reason. You can be the best singer in the world, but if you have a stank attitude or have some other character flaw that’s hard to ignore (e.g. Amy’s drug addiction), I likely won’t support you monetarily. That might not be right, but hell, it’s my money.

With Keyshia, though, I’ve always been conflicted. Sometimes you really want to like her because there’s so much to like. Then you’re sent a YouTube clip of her sucking her teeth, hissing, and rolling her eyes at an interviewer and you’re left thinking, “The fuck wrong with her?”

As much as I love Mary J. Blige, I knew how nasty she used to be. But I chalked all that up to her past relationship with a pipe. I didn’t get Keyshia’s excuse. That wasn’t fair of me; people aren’t born with a chip on their shoulder. Someone help put it there.

After watching the season premiere of her reality series, I understand exactly what was wrong with her. Then I realized I’m in no position to hold any of that against her. I can be a wee bit too harsh on people. To the point that I should look into shutting up sometimes (only sometimes, though — don’t get too hopeful).

Maybe I was too blinded by her crackhead mama’s antics for it to dawn on me: I know this fool. Not personally, but I know her kind all too well. The type of person that mistreats their own but acts like they’re the victim. The kind of person that demands respect yet has made no real effort to earn it. It’s someone that refuses to grow up. People laugh at them, tell you how great they are, but they don’t have to live with them, so they miss the whole picture. They don’t know how draining these people are and how angry they can make you.

After noticing the parallels I realized that maybe the way some people describe Keyshia is probably how a few looked at me. I’m not that rude, but I’m sure the longer you know me you begin to realize that there’s a reason why I am the way I am. And when they learn the source of it, people are so quick to tell me to ‘let it go.’ It’s really hard to listen to them – because none of them have ever had to deal with anything like that personally. It’s even harder to be so quick to forgive someone when they’re doing the exact same bullshit that pissed you off to begin with.

I admire Keyshia for what she’s trying to do with her mother. I abandoned my own efforts to be that forgiving a long time ago. I’ve made significant progress over the years, but I know that never fully letting certain things go has stifled my growth in some ways. While I still wonder if it might be in her best interest to keep her distance, I can’t be mad at Keyshia for trying so hard to have an ideal family life.

I’ve read some of the criticism about her show. How ghetto it is, how negative the depictions are, and how it will all lead to the destruction of Black people. The Cosby enthusiasts of the world are mad, ain’t they? But Keyshia’s reality is just that, and by her putting herself out there in that way she’s indirectly aidinh people with similar struggles.

I ended up not buying Just Like You after I heard some interview Keyshia did with a Baltimore radio station. Her attitude turned me off. But now that I understand her a little more, I won’t hold an occasional slip-up against her. She’s trying, so I need to judge my decision based on what really matters: That wack ass years old song with 2 Pac she dropped. You would think as much as she hears ‘man down,’ she would connect the two and opt for something more current.

I’m clowning, but if I don’t end up buying this new album, the decision will be based on the music. I appreciate Keyshia — enough to where I think I may finally get around to buying that second album.

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