An Icon Crush with Range 

Some time ago I was introduced to Jason Hendrickson via an email interview we did together over on ZO Magazine. We talked about fashion, music, and more but what we didn’t cover then was his love for a woman who was more than a celebrity crush, she was an icon crush. You’ll find out more about Jason Hendrickson’s icon crush later this week but first, let’s talk about the first artist who showed me the difference between singing and sangin’. None other than Mariah Carey

It was 1990-something and I was in elementary school sitting by my friend Roger. It was third or fourth grade, I can’t remember which but I remember it was Mr. Fuller’s class and I was excited to share that I too was cool and had a cassette tape of a major artist. Of course, that was Mariah Carey’s ‘Daydream.’ This was not too long before the Spice Girls and the boy band wave, so you know, a couple of years before I made the contents of Tiger Beat my whole personality. 

At that particular time, I was concerned about being the girl with the cool Mariah Carey tape. My friend didn’t seem all that impressed, but that didn’t stop me from going home and wearing that tape out. The number of times I had to hit rewind and flipped that baby over and over again. For those under 30 reading this, tapes had two sides and each side had six or so songs. It was a whole thing, but anyways…I listened to that album pretty much until GIRL POWER took over my existence in middle school. 

Nevertheless, Mariah Carey was the first artist I remember being enamored with. Her songs felt bigger than the usual pop on the radio, and not too long after listening I learned she was mixed. In 1990-something this was a huge deal because as a mixed kid herself, I was always yearning for that level of representation, even before I knew the real concept of that word. I just knew it felt good seeing someone who had parents who were not the same race. It made me feel less weird about it because again, at that time, we didn’t have hashtags or social media movements to spread love and acceptance.

Since the days of clutching ‘Daydream’ tight, I grew to love Mariah even more. 1999 was peak Mariah obsession though because ‘Rainbow’ dropped and from start to finish – that’s still hands down my favorite album of hers. I mean, that Phil Collins cover? *chef’s kiss*

Like Jason Hendrickson’s crush, Mariah is so iconic that I don’t even have to use her last name and you just know. A #1 song every year in the ‘90s, a song that still hits the top of the charts annually around the holidays, and is one of the most recognized and celebrated vocalists – ever? Yeah, Mariah Carey is an icon crush, and for good measure. Her career is astounding and while all of that’s undeniable, what I’ll always love most about her and why she’s remained such a huge part of the things I hold onto, is that she made a little mixed kid in 1990-something feel a little less alone during a time in her life when she thought she was a little weirdo based on nothing more than her parents being different. 

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