Warning: True 80’s confession contained within

I cannot tell you all how excited we are here at GFM to celebrate the music of New Edition this month. Now, having said that I feel I should let you in on a secret(pun intended).

Remember when LL described a certain young lady as having New Edition/Bobby Brown button on her sleeve? Yeah I knew her. Or shall I say them? No, I’m not about to follow up that statement with some Common talk about I used to love H.E.R. but, let’s just say as a 12-15 year old perhaps there was some like involved and you know what happens when you like someone at that age and they end every sentence with well when I met Ralph, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike? That’s right the PH era.

You know PH: Pre-Hater? Yes I was a hater before there was a term. Not of the music, not of the guys in the group because I didn’t know them personally, no it was more like I was a hater to the highest order of the idea of this force, this New Edition that had significant mind share over this potential suitor I was trying to woo.

Of course I don’t know how much wooing I was really trying to do between those ages, but then a funny thing happened at around 15 or so. I realized what a futile effort this campaign of hate was and I learned to accept and in fact embrace the power and sway NE had on these R.I.T.’s (that’s Ronis In Training). Yes, your boy is not afraid to admit he did a complete 180, throwing away the hate, learning to embrace the music, the message and potentially the rewards of being able to wax poetically, stanzas from “Is This The End” “Mr. Telephone Man” and our song of the day.

The Pièce de résistance would be a few short years later during the NE Heartbreak era. A little older, a little wiser, it could be said that I learned to embrace the full benefits of becoming acclimated to the discography of a group I reserved such vitriol for only a few short years earlier.

Lesson learned: Don’t embrace the hate.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.