The “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” video came on my friend’s TV when I was in 5th grade. I didn’t have MTV at home and my mind was blown. I was instantly smitten with New Kids on the Block the moment I saw them…and I still am.
I was poor, fat, painfully shy and from a dysfunctional family, but NKOTB didn’t care about that. They were my escape through the tough tween and early teen years. I felt safe and accepted when I tuned out the world with New Kids on the Block in my cheap, knockoff Walkman.
Those feelings came rushing back when I attended the New Kids on the Block “Main Event” tour. This is a group that values their fans. My daughter and her best friend (both 14) were with me and I was thrilled NKOTB embraced the same body positive attitude I desperately want them to embrace.
5 Ways the New Kids on the Block “Main Event” Tour Promoted Body Positivity
1. The shirts fit! Most concert t-shirts only go up to an XL. That leaves a whole lot of people left out. “Main Event” concert tee’s were available in both men and women sizes up to 2X. I bought three.
2. Diverse fans. The guys went into the crowd to interact with fans during several songs. The faces on the jumbo screens reflected the diversity present at the show – a wide range of ages, races, sizes and abilities.
3. Nelly’s dancers. These ladies were bootylicious. They had lots of curves and even more confidence. My daughter stopped dancing, despite natural talent, when puberty hit because she didn’t have the thin frame of so many in her class and it wrecked her self-esteem. Risqué moves aside, I wanted to point at Nelly’s dancers and shout “SEE???? They are beautiful. They are talented. This can be you!” She wouldn’t have been able to hear me over the pounding bass or screaming fans, though.
4. Girl power with TLC. “Unpretty.” “Waterfalls.” “No Scrubs.” These ladies acknowledge the struggles we all go through, but charge forward with confidence.
5. “Remix (I Like The).” This was their 2013 single. They sang it with the video playing in the background. The video features Artemis Pebdani from “It’s Only Sunny in Philadelphia” as a wallflower who transforms into a confident, sexy goddess. Donnie starts off singing,
“She was that girl in the corner
Every time she passed us
Ever the outcast
Had no flava
But who got the last laugh”
And then the wallflower goes for it. She dives into herself. Donnie sings, “I like the new you. I like the remix, baby.”
“Everybody wants her
I forgot to mention
My baby’s so intelligent
Down with it
Got it all”
Artemis doesn’t physically change during the video. They didn’t have a frumpy, overweight chick in the beginning and switch her out for a size zero model. The fabulous Artemis, who doesn’t meet Hollywood’s definition of beautiful, though she totally is, was the star of the video the whole time. The only thing that changed was the confidence she level she showed. The “Remix” was that the wallflower grew to like herself.
And that is exactly what happened to me. I was a wallflower when I saw New Kids on the Block in concert at 12. I still was when I saw their reunion show at 30. But now, at 37, I’ve finally bloomed. I like the new me. I like the remix.
6. (Bonus round.) They showed us their bodies! These guys are now in their 40’s, but they showed age is just a number! They are still HOT and they seemed comfortable showing it off. Jordan and Joey did shirtless solos and there was a camera in the dressing room. Ooh, la la.
I’m even more impressed with Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Joey and Jonathan after attending the NKOTB Main Event” tour. Thank you, New Kids on the Block, for promoting body positivity and showing so much respect to all of your fans. “I’ll Be Loving Your Forever” because you’ve totally got the “The Right Stuff.”