I have a special affinity for R&B singers and track and field stars. Specifically one named Maxwell and one named Justin.
I been crushing on Maxwell since 1997, when my curious ears laid hold of “Ascension.” I knew this voice and his melodies announced something very special and inspiring had entered what had been a predictable and commercial-driven music industry.
I was so enamored with this man and the new musical chapters he was writing for neo-soul and R&B that when I became a Christian two years later, I let go of his music because it was too much of a competition with my growing faith. I felt like I couldn’t love his music and still focus on God. Which was understandable. 20 year-old humans and our decision making. What a riot.
Time and maturity gave way to a deeper faith walk with God and eventually the wisdom to see I can enjoy music beyond my spiritual journey. Music that’s also deeply connected to my culture and journey as a black woman who loves and lives in the rhythms of soul.
17 years later I’m back in the saddle with my Maxwell crushing escapades. Got to see him live in concert in August when he came to Orlando. SO GOOD was he!!! This man’s voice is just amazing. And it just keeps getting better with time! Like a dang-on good behind wine! And he dances like nobody is watching him. And his suits and swag are some kind of wonderful.
Maxwell was my summer crush. He’s also my fall crush. He’ll likely be my winter, my spring and my next summer crush too.
I think crushes are good. They remind us that our hearts and souls are in good working order. And our eyesight is on point. Because liking what you see physically in someone is awesome.
Another crush popped up this summer. He’s also my fall, winter, and likely will be spring and next summer crush too. He’s one of the best track and field sprinters in US history: Justin Gatlin. Let’s just keep it real and let me be fully transparent: This man is fine. Good have to the mercy, oh my goodness. God knows if the man at the focus of my booship chronicles looked anything like Justin I would be in a mess…of HAPPY!!!
Being that running is one my hobbies, and the summer 2016 Olympics in Rio became a very important addition to my world in August, I like Justin Gatlin. A lot. He’s also inspired an original hashtag: #JustinGatlinCanRunWithMeAnyDay.
When one of my Black Girls Run sisters learned how much I’d begun crushing on him, she happily informed me that he lives right outside Orlando and trains here. My immediate response: “Whaaaaaaattttttttt!!!!!!!!!! We need a #BGRFieldTrip ! C’mon somebody!”
If somebody was willing to encourage my crazy, I would organize this hilarity.
And if I met Justin, I would tell him a few things about Rio:
I’d tell him what really stood out to me was his heart and gracious perspective immediately after the men’s 4×100 relay when he learned of his team’s disqualification and that the US would not be receiving the bronze.
I’d tell him he responded incredibly well in the face of unexpected disappointment.
It was an honorable way to handle loss.
And his perspective teaches others lessons about competition in the moments when you won’t get the medal and accolades. Strength and character really rise when we don’t win but choose to grow from our losses.
Justin’s had a good share of hard moments in his track career. But he keeps showing up to his life and stepping up to his challenges.
Life needs to teach us these things. The hard and the rocky. The good and the beautiful.
So, I’d give him my words.
And I’d also tell him he looks real good in his running shorts.