Illustration for article titled 30 Days of Iconic Music Video Blackness With VSB, Day 4: Jade, Dont Walk Away
Screenshot: Jade “Don’t Walk Away”

Jade’s video for “Don’t Walk Away” is one of those joints that you could toss into a 90s time capsule, open it 50 years from now and have a very clear, if not confused, understanding of what the early 90s in young black America looked like. Everything about this video is awesome and remarkably of its time.

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So creep with me as I transport us back to 1992, as we revisit the clothing, the style and the total nonsensical shit that happened in music videos back then. The 90s were an iconic time in black pop culture and this video is basically the whole shit in 4 minutes and 27 seconds.

Jade, “Don’t Walk Away” (1992)

(As a point of note, I will be plagiarizing myself from a post I forgot I wrote in 2014 about this video. I only discovered it after doing my googles. The parts I will crib will be polished and freshened up and make more sense than they did way back yonder.)

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0:00-0:20—This video opens with a staple of 90s group videos—some trashy section of town with lots of graffiti and chain link fencing. I once tried to hurdle one of those fences and got my shoelace caught. I went face first into the concrete. We will call that experience “My First Concussion.” And yes, it happened in the 90s. See what I did there? Also, why do rebels hang out in places like this. And this opening montage is full of people who look like rebels. Unemployed rebels because it’s clearly mid-day. But we have low-riders and motorcycles. Low-riders were huge in the 90s. Now they’re pants. Also a staple of 90s videos were the phone call-to-answering machine segments.

Now here’s where this shit goes way 90s. And we’re only like 20 seconds in. There’s a harmonized greeting, which, let me tell you something, in the 90s, every high schooler wanted their own line JUST so to create some type of dope greeting with singing and shit.

0:25—Why did the guys hi-five each other because they had to leave a message? I have watched this video 6 times now (and again this second time around) and I’m still lost here. Like, these two 90s fade hair-cut dudes gave themselves congratulatory hi-fives as if they were afraid they got the wrong number but they didn’t so even though they ain’t get through, they’re just glad they didn’t get FUBAR’d. And no, that acronym doesn’t work here. And yes, I’m leaving it. Point is, why were they hi-fiving? Somebody call Sway. Black men hi-fiving for no reason is 90s as fuck, by the way.

0:26—Why is there a cat in this video? What happen? Why it happen? But this just proves my point about random nonsense thrown into videos. No ideas were ever turned down.

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“Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s bring in Sasquatch wearing a tu-tu for a dance sequence.” “GREAT IDEA! It’s 1991…NOBODY ELSE IS DOING THAT!”

0:27-0:35—Another significant 90s staple—college apparel and Troop boots (they weren’t wearing Troops but they did have on combat style boots which were very popular). Considering how popular college was in the 90s amongst Black people, it’s amazing we all know so many people who didn’t graduate. Then again, niggas were hype to go just for some apparel and/or to pledge Omega Psi Phi. Once they got there and niggas handed them books they were like hell to the nah—they kept the sweatshirts though. By the way, the coolest people always got to wear the Georgetown stuff in 90s videos. This is indisputable.

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0:37—They walked RIGHT into a dope dance move that I still perform whenever I get the chance. The stomp-and-arm thing. It’s still applicable. I’ll bet they still do that at family reunions.

0:37-0:47—We get an up-close view of a lot of styles from the 90s. The most ubiquitous? The plaid too big button-up shirt with the too-big jeans and boots combo. There’s definitely a skully in here somewhere. And of course, the women had on the crispy white tank-tops with the box braids. Nostalgia is a mug because I’m tearing up right now.

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0:50-1:05—This 10-second stretch is important because it features a lot of dance moves that were CENTRAL to the 90s and crescendos into the verse and the most ubiquitous dance of the 90s, the world-famous, infamous, granddaddy of the two-step, the Gangster Walk.

1:22—We get a good view of what men were wearing in the 90s here as well. Basically, the same shit women were wearing. Oh, those Karl Kani outfits with the denim vest/pant combo, wow those are atrocious. But you put your Troops on with them joints and you automatically became as cool as Jodeci. This is also indisputable. I did like the overalls with the hoodie though. I never owned these things, mind you. That shit was not cheap.

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1:50—I just realized they’re wearing Doc Martens. An expensive ass 90s staple that has had a resurgence amongst the fashionable set.

Also, there was A LOT of dancing in crouched positions in the early 90s and a lot of knee centric dances. And y’all thought Megan Thee Stallion came up with titanium knees all on her own. Unfortunately, I’ll bet a lot of folks who were in their 20s in the 90s are having substantial knee problems now. I have no proof of this, but I’m going to go ahead and assume it to be true. Hopefully, with modern medicine, Megan won’t suffer the same fate.

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2:00-2:12—Honestly, if I lived in areas like this—clearly LA—as a youth watching these videos that look like they just came about at random, I’d always think that if I got my friends together and we went to a decrepit warehouse-like area with proper lighting, plaid shirts, and at least one lowrider, that a music video would break out. I’d always be disappointed if it never happened. Too many videos looked just like this.

2:32—This dude dancing with the maroon on is giving SO much work to his shoulders. Why he never started a dance-workout video is beyond me. He shows back up later in this video doing a different rendition of the same dance and it’s just as awesome as the first time. We are all better because this guy existed.

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Pretty much the rest of this video is the exact same as the beginning. People dancing in place in an abandoned area with lots of plaids and big hats or braids. There’s some pretty fancy and seductive rail dancing happening around the 4-minute mark as well.

Mostly because this got long I’m stopping. But this is one 90s ass video.

And we’re all better for it. And it’s an iconic 90s video.

Don’t walk away.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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DISCUSSION

That song is my jam!