30 Days of Iconic Music Video Blackness With VSB, Day 15: Cameo, 'Word Up!'

Illustration for article titled 30 Days of Iconic Music Video Blackness With VSB, Day 15: Cameo, 'Word Up!'
Screenshot: Cameo “Word Up!”

One day, Cameo will get the documentary they truly deserve. One trip through their video archives makes want to know everything about the group possible. Sure, Larry Blackmon is the most recognizable because he was the front-man and lead vocalist (I struggled with putting singer here), but the whole band was really out there. Seriously, just fall down the Cameo music video rabbithole—you’re welcome.


Cameo “Word Up!” (1986)

“Word Up!” is a video that came out when I was, maybe, 7 years old and I have no idea how or where I saw it, but I remember Larry Blackmon’s red codpiece as clear as day. Because of it I will never, ever in my entire life forget this video. I have absolutely no idea why he even wore this thing. And yet it added EVERYTHING to the video and is probably the reason why “Word Up!” is their biggest single.

And the truth is, it’s not even the weirdest clothing item he even wore in videos. The video for “Single Life” has some rather interesting clothing choices, but the codpiece is fire red, Levar Burton is chasing down the band and well, the rest is history. Honestly, I think if the codpiece—I’m really trying to see how many times I can fit this word into this article without it being gratuitous—were another color, say black, and thus less pronounced, the video doesn’t resonate. But it’s red, so it does. The lesson here: when in doubt, toss on a codpiece.

Also, how blown would you be as the lead detective on a case chasing down a man with a red codpiece and a band named Cameo and one of the two cops you bring with you strips inside a club and starts dancing gyratiously? I’d be pissed. It’s New York though, he’d just get moved to desk duty. It does lend new meaning to stop-and-frisk, though. See what I did there? You probably do.

Either way, for his work towards the advancement of artistic expression featuring codpieces, Larry Blackmon and Cameo deserve all the awards.

Side note: Am I the only one who didn’t realize that Larry Blackmon was singing lead on “Single Life” for years? I thought it was a woman. Cameo, man...iconic.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


kidelo (i have a tiktok)

Whoo! Rabbit hole initiated!

My favorite is Candy... wherein a gigantic Larry Blackmon strides over Times Square in his codpiece. Indeed he do.

Cameo videos are an 80's fashion hell hole.