I Remember Vanilla…



Just makin’ sure you’re paying attention.

Are you surprised Vanilla Ice was arrested for domestic battery for pushing his wife? No, not even a little? Yeah, me neither.

Vanilla Ice. The fact that this man continues to garner headlines befuddles me as much as it (oddly enough) comforts me. It’s like good ol’ Vanilla has been following me throughout my youth and adulthood, a sort of constant like Christmas and taxes and that moment when you realize you’ve run out of milk.

I have a clear memory of sitting in the back of a friend’s car with several fellow high school freshmen girls while my friend’s mom drove us around and we sang every single solitary word of “Ice Ice Baby” as it played on the radio, and we thought we were so clever and we thought it was so totally awesome that he finished it with, “Word to your mother.”

I remember taking my little brother to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and cringing as Vanilla did the “Ninja Rap” on screen. And I knew then that it was over for him. (Vanilla, not my brother.)

I remember going to a college party and realizing that “Ice Ice Baby” sampled Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” and feeling so, so hopelessly stupid that I ever liked that “Ice Ice Baby” in the first place, even if I had been 13 at the time.

I remember living in Miami (home of the aforementioned Beachfront Avenue, BTW), and driving in the car one day and hearing a deejay announce and then play Vanilla’s new death metal version of “Ice Ice Baby” entitled “Too Cold” and wondering what the Hell was happening on this planet of ours.

I remember getting drunk in some Chicago apartment and watching Vanilla lose his shit on an MTV special about the 25 Lamest Videos of all time and laughing as he threw a baseball bat down and destroyed the set (and yeah, maybe even feeling a little sorry for him, too).

I remember wasting time in my Houston home watching reruns of Vanilla Ice on “The Surreal Life” and thinking he was getting more pathetic by the moment, but still somehow I couldn’t help watching.

And I remember so many other moments…when he said Suge Knight had hung him outside a balcony. When he made news after his pet goat (yes) escaped his home. When Henry Rollins pretended to be him in 3rd Bass’s “Pop Goes the Weasel” video and Vanilla/Henry got beat up. When he made “Cool As Ice.”

So I suppose it makes sense that I should stand up and take notice when a third-rate, one-hit-wonder from the early 90s gets arrested for beating up his wife. It should make sense that it makes a mark on my brain. In the timeline of my life there is me and my losses and my wins and my loves and my heartaches. And my Vanilla. – Jennifer Mathieu

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Jennifer Mathieu
Contact: Jennifer Mathieu