Many of us have spent the last month celebrating the birthdays of awesome people (Toni Morrison, Nina Simone, Summer M., Erykah Badu), posting fake quotes attributed to someone featured on the Mount Rushmore of black leaders, wondering how many things George Washington Carver made with peanuts, and ruminating on the marriage of crunchiness and technology that is Jill Scott and Verizon. In retrospect, I did not adequately serve you, dear reader with proper Black History Month reflection in any of my last few posts. I have failed you. And I offer my sincerest apologies in the form of acknowledging some black visionaries–no, not a little known slave revolt–who have not gotten their due. What better way to end Black History Month than with a big up to a group that, Unsung episode notwithstanding, have not gotten proper due for its vision?

Every now and then, like during BHM, you’ll see an article on a site that otherwise pretends that black people don’t exist, about the dearth of black people in the Silicon Valley. These articles generally assume that since black people allegedly haven’t become bazillionaires creating microchips and iWhatevers, they don’t sort of engage technologies in the ways that nerdy white boys do. Because, I guess, the American way seems to think that if you haven’t made a gang of money doing it, then you must not be doing it. Or at least doing it right. Or at all. Of course we RT and Facebook the articles and pay scant attention to this “crisis” afterwards, all the while having very little to say about the visionary ways black people have imagined the very future we’re currently living in. Word to Sun Ra.

Take for example, internet dating. Sources (and by sources I mean Wikipedia) will wax on wax off about how folks have been hooking up ever that AOL dude was telling you, “You’ve got mail.” With chat rooms and online forums and such, lonely hearts could digitally engage as long as your little brother didn’t pick up the phone. But you know what these sources don’t say? That Roger and Zapp saw this shit coming.

You know that Jimmy Early scene in the lounge in Dream Girls? The one where he’s going in about how he invented did everything on the radio before it was on the radio? Well, had they lived, I can imagine Roger and Larry Troutman in the Troutman family living room watching a commercial going all Jimmy Early talking about how they predicted it all and cats haven’t properly #paidamish. Let’s look at the receipt, shall we?

Computer Love


Picture it: 1985, and this jam comes on your pre-blazing hip-hop and R&B radio dial:

Computerized (Digital love)
Oh, baby
A beautiful love[…]

You know I’ve been searching for someone
Who can share that special love with me
And your eyes have that glow
Could it be your face I see on my computer screen

This is pre-A/S/L, yo! Who has webcams? An online dating profile? That’s right. Nobody.

Need a special girl (Ooh, yeah)
To share in my computer world
I no longer need a strategy
Thanks to modern technology

If internet dating did anything for the likes of people such as myself, it rendered spitting in-person game moot. I have lamented, lamented the number of honeys I have awkwardly passed up because I did have the proper in-person macking strategies nor recognized their macking efforts. However, with the advent of online flirting all of a sudden the kid had mad skills! And you know who knew that would happen? The Troutmans.

You know I’ve been around
From hot sexy mamas to cool Prima Donnas
I wanna share your treasure, oh, so rare
‘Cause it’s your face I see on my computer screen
Oh, won’t you keep me warm tonight
You are such a sweet delight
I will cherish the memory of this night
Yes, I found my computer love

Lessons learned here:

1. When the local dating pool has rendered nothing, you can always dive into the deep end of the internets.

2. Computer love is kind of like that permanent romantic phase, because their is not morning breath or toothpaste in the sink to get all infuriated about.

3. This is a family blog, so the other implications of this verse will have to be inferred by those of us who are “adult” and astute.

4. If Manti Te’o had simply followed the rules of the game, he wouldn’t have gotten caught up.

Digital love {Digital love}
Computer love {Computer love}
Digital love {Digital love}
A beautiful love {Beautiful love}
A digital love {Digital love}
Digital love {Digital love}
{It’s just computer digital beautiful, beautiful love}

Folks are out there making a generation of babies born of relationships started on the internet. And Roger and Zapp sang about it before we do it with such ease.

If you have never heard this song play in your brain at the beginning of an internet crush, you either never heard it or you a lie.

Know your history. And give respect where it’s due. Until next time, America. This has been Black History Month.