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Bobby Brown

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fonda-jane-photo-jane-fonda-6234671Kate Moss could rock up in a bin bag with a banana peel for a broach and we’d still flock to the shops to imitate the look. It takes some extra-terrestrial beauty to take an item of clothing we wouldn’t usually be found dead in and turn it into the next season’s must-have.

Before Kate, there were the Spice Girls with their platform trainers, Madonna with her underwear as outerwear, and before that, there was Jane Fonda.

In a decade that was obsessed with hard bodies, health and exercise, Fonda was the reigning queen. Daughter of actor Henry Fonda, Jane started out as a model, but quickly won over audiences with her roles in films like Barbarella and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and quickly established herself as a sex symbol. Cashing in on her body and previous experience as a ballerina, Fonda released Jane Fonda Workout in 1982, which sold 17 million copies and was the first in a series of an impressive 23 videos, 5 books, and 13 audio programs, carving out a second, equally successful career.

Knowing we could never get anywhere near her angelic perfection, we conveniently settled for the next best thing: Jane’s body-hugging lycra leggings with contrasting thong leotard, waist-cinching belt, colourful headband and, last yet anything but least, leg warmers. And Fonda wasn’t the only poster child for this look back in the 80s, as actress/singer Olivia Newton John and 80′s breakfast television show TV.AM’s workout guru ‘Mad Lizzie’, aslo made it their own, with the video for Olivia’s hit record Physical giving her the perfect  excuse to get totally ‘lycra-ed’ up!

And with films like Fame, Flashdance and Footloose drawing huge audiences, leg warmers were the epitome of theatre school cool. We truly believed we were just a pair of thick-knitted ankle tubes away from breaking into a perfectly choreographed and harmonised song and dance in the school’s cafeteria. Of course, we soon discovered that a pair of leg warmers has no effect nor use to anyone not continually stretching and flexing, and despite a short resurgence mid-nineties, they have since been banned to fashion’s fancy dress section.
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If leg warmers were the only trend coming out of the 80s’ aerobics craze, we would probably think back on that time with more fondness than shame. Unfortunately, the most unforgiving of all unforgiving fabrics – spandex – managed to creep into the limelight. Let me tell you, for once and for all, spandex only looks good on dancers with buns of steel and virile rockers in the prime of their life. If you’re not in one of those two exclusive categories, step away from the lycra. It is just not that into you.

Jane Fonda’s bottom was impeccable, and who doesn’t remember MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This video in which three girls work their tight, spandex-clad booties choreographically bouncing bum bags? No wonder we all succumbed.

However 80s r&b star Bobby Brown’s bad decision to sport a pair of unflattering black cycling shorts, complete with red socks and black dress shoes, in the video for Every Little Step, is up there with the moment he figured taking drugs was a good idea! And let’s not get started on Mr Motivator!

A Marmite-like relic of our childhood, bicycle shorts made a very brief fashion comeback as an addition to flirty summer dresses two season’s ago, but nobody really fell for it. Even Jane Fonda knows better: in her 2010 comeback exercise video Prime Fit the now 72-year old still wears a tight-fitted top and her signature belt, but has traded the lycra for a pair of plain, black fitness trousers – without leg warmers. And when the trend-setting legend herself says it’s over, believe me, it is over.

By Janneke de Jong

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bobby-v-brown-lopezI was excited to see pint-sized r&b singer Bobby Valentino and old school fave Bobby Brown, singing  a duet of  Bobby B’s 80s hit Rock Witcha, on a recent airing of US chat show Lopez Tonight.

That song is a stone-cold classic and the guys did a good job on it! Judging from the interview with host George Lopez afterwards, I think  the song (in its duet form) will appear on Bobby V’s new album.

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bellbivdevoeBell Biv Devoe, aka Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe appeared on Light Night with Jimmy Fallon recently to perform two of their classic hits Poison and Do Me. Accompanied by The Roots, I love the old school moves and the matching outfits fellas! After seeing Heads Of State (the other half of New Edition; Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill) perform at the indigo2 in the UK last year I hope Bell Biv Devoe follow suit and come and perform over here this year! Check out the performances below!

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Don't Be CruelBefore his frequent run-ins with the law and his tumultuous marriage to Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown was best known for being one of the most exciting entertainers in the music business. He was a member of popular r&b boyband New Edition from 1978-1985, but it wasn’t until his second solo album, Don’t Be Cruel (1988), that he really proved himself as a force to be reckoned with.

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Mike_Tyson_768973a[1]As a huge fan of old school Bobby Brown, I was enthused to come across this hilarious parody of one of his classic tunes and videos Every Little Step (1989). I don’t know whose idea it was to get former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson in on the act, but whoever it was deserves a medal – as I literally cried with laughter watching this! Tyson is joined by US comedian and TV host Wayne Brady and some other random guy as they try and re-enact the dance moves from the original video. The clip is courtesy of the peeps over at comedy video website Funny or Die, and there is a VERY special cameo at the end. Check it out below!

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kidBack in the day male hairstyles were a lot more interesting than they are now. This was  probably because people weren’t afraid to look silly in the name of fashion, and then what actually happened was they inadvertedly ended up looking good. Most of the time. Why else would the Jheri curl have caught on? Lol!

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MB_richmond_va_9-6-09croppedWhen I was growing up New Edition was one of my favourite groups in the whole wide world. And nearly three decades since they burst onto the scene in 1983, I am still a huge fan of the group and all the splinter projects it has spawned.

Founding member Michael Bivins has managed to keep himself relevant in front of, and behind the camera, as an artist, executive, cultivator of talent and trendsetter. And his bench marks have been frequently imitated but rarely credited in my humble opinion.

People give props to the likes of Diddy, which is much deserved. But before Diddy and Bad Boy, there was a Michael Bivins and a label called Biv 10 paving the way. And as well as being a member of New Edition since he was about 10 years-old, and a member of hit 90s act Bell Biv Devoe (Poison, Do Me, When Will I See You Smile Again), his now defunct label Biv 10 was responsible for launching platinum acts such as Boys II Men, ABC (Another Bad Creation) and 702 back in the early 90s.

Sabrina washingtonSabrina Washington, 31, is the former lead vocalist for now defunct British girl band Mis-Teeq. The girls racked up a number of top ten hits and a couple of platinum albums from 1999- 2005, but now after a few years out of the spotlight and recent memorable stint on ITV reality TV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of  Here, Sabrina is pursuing her career as a solo artist.

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