I cannot tell you how much I love Stephanie Mills’ video for “(You’re Puttin’) A Rush On Me” so I won’t even try. I love it a lot lot, though. What I will attempt to explain is why I love this video so much. For starters, I’d be willing to bet good money that a significant amount of people haven’t seen this video. It was put on YouTube in December 2010 and has racked up only 2.5 million views. This is somewhat surprising to me since this song was a #1 R&B hit and charted on the pop charts, but I’m guessing most of us just didn’t know it had a video. Because if we did, whew chile, we’d talk about it like the true artistic gem that it is.
Why do I think this video is iconic? Here’s why: I’m convinced that Mary J. Blige owes her entire desire to dance on film to this video. Like I don’t even think I knew that Stephanie Mills couldn’t dance until I saw this video. And it isn’t like I ever thought to myself, “I’ll bet Stephanie Mills can dance,” but this video puts me firmly in the she cannot camp. But she is wearing that black cat suit. It’s just so hard to notice because some of her dance moves are so pantheon level bad (but bad so good) that I keep forgetting how good she looks. She clearly hit the gym and was on that Angela Bassett workout plan years before Angela Bassett got on that Angela Bassett workout plan. Stephanie Mills was killin’ the game.
For instance, at the 1:58 mark, what is she doing? I love it. I do this when I go out; I didn’t even know I did it because she did it. Stephanie Mills is a trendsetter. Also, this video is heavy on the stalker vibe. Buddy was creepy from jump, but then he chased her around an empty museum or art gallery (why either of them is still there is beyond me, but at least she has a music video to shoot) for a whole video trying to get a dinner date at his house AFTER she both told him and sang him a whole song about the fact that he’s pushing a rush on him and she’s not that kind of girl. He needs to read the room.
But seriously, back to the dancing: this whole video set the stage for Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey and any of number of artists who attempted to dance in videos when the rainbow was enough. I mean, the 2:58 point—I stan. She even breaks out into some Tae-Bo at around the 3:30 mark. This video is everything, I love it. It’s both inspirational and aspirational. And it’s Stephanie Mills, an icon.