If you’re not up on Chrisette Michele, you better ask somebody. Not only can this 20-something chanteuse blow, she’s a prolific writer who stretches and bends lyrics that actually mean something—a tall order these days when lines like “please excuse my hands” and “she wants to lick the lollipop” get feted like they’re Pulitzer Prize-winning librettos. While the other girls are telling boys they “shoulda put a ring on it” (with apologies to B), Chrisette is singing about female empowerment and a father’s love and getting over heartbreak with your dignity in tact and, in her song, "If I Have My Way," saving the good stuff for someone who’s earned it and is willing to wait until she's good and ready.
Ha’ mercy, what I would do if some of these little girls around here turned off Lil’ Wayne and T-Pain and them and listened to Chrisette for even just a little while. Frankly, they could stand to hear someone tell them straight and plain: Don’t have sex with boys until you’re really ready and he’s really worthy and both of you are willing to use protection. Because clearly, these conversations are not being had around these parts.
What’s my issue, you ask? Well, my 16-year-old stepson announced at the dinner table last night that he knows at least 10 girls in his school who are “expecting,” and I don’t mean SAT scores or prom dates. These girls are expecting babies—just strolling the school hallways with child like it's nothing. Please understand, I’m trying my best not to pass judgment here. But really—the hell? Can someone please explain to me how, not even six months after studies showed that African American teen pregnancy rates dropped a whopping 23%--more than the rates of any other racial group and the largest decline for black teens ever—my kid’s school has almost a dozen girls headed to the local maternity ward?
Clearly, somebody’s fallen down on the job. I don’t know if it’s the school, or our community’s extremely conservative political base, or inattentive, overworked, out-to-lunch parents, or a combo of all of the above, but somebody’s failing these girls if they’re too scared/stupid/gullible/idiotic to just say “no” to these little boys, or at least walk into the local CVS and get them a box of condoms so that they’re protected. Because ain't no way that many girls would be knocked up in a community that actually cared enough to be realistic about teen sex and make sure these little girls and boys aren't getting into some mess they can't handle.
I hope and pray that my stepson and daughters heed Chrisette’s message:
You're who I desire/You light my fire
With every kiss/you take me higher
Feeling like your lovin' I just cannot resist
There's something that's makin' me hold on
There's no one I'd rather share my good lovin' with
But I promised I'd wait 'til I'm ready for this
But just in case they decide waiting just isn’t an option for them, trust me when I tell you this: I will be telling them over and over and over again that the two minutes of embarrassment they'll suffer from slapping a box of condoms on the counter at the local drug store will be much easier to handle than trying to figure out how to care for and raise another human being when you barely know how to wipe your own ass good.