Lisa, Angela, Pamela, Renee.

Lisa, Angela, Pamela, Renee.

Long before I knew I was magic I wanted to be an “Around the Way Girl.” At the height of his career, LL Cool J released a song he wrote specifically for Black girls in the hood. The video for the song opens up with a frustrated LL rejecting the premise of what he called a “stuck up girl” and lyrically painting the picture of the type of Black woman he wanted. LL didn’t introduce me to the “Around the Way Girl”, he just loved her out loud. I’ve always known her. For the 11-year-old version of me she was goals. She was familiar—the “Around the Way Girl” LL described felt like one of my cool ass aunties and older cousins. I didn’t need Yo! MTV Raps to show me what was hot—all I had to do was go to a family event. Whenever Aunt Allison walked into a family cookout rocking shoulder length medium-sized box braids that were burned on the ends with her baby hair slicked down, I knew I was about to beg my mom to take …
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