Jodeci and SWV are my favorite 90s groups. Their music, to me, is so superbly good that you shouldn’t have anything negative to say about it. Jodeci is still, today, a gold standard group, which is amazing considering that they only have three albums, all released between 1991 and 1995 that are worth talking about. “Stay” was a single off their first album, the classic Forever My Lady. The video is also classic not just for how awesomely 90s it is, but for how awesomely interesting 90s videos were. I wrote about this in 2014; I will be plagiarizing myself in parts, but with polish. I clearly needed an editor then. “Stay” is iconic though, for two words: rocking horse.
The iconic video for “Stay” is one of those videos that should be placed in a 90s time capsule. The early 90s, specifically, were a time where videos took on many forms. Jodeci’s “Stay” is emblematic (and iconic because of it) for one particular style: WTF.
There’s a good chance you haven’t seen this video in quite some time. There’s a really good reason for this. It’s a terrible video. But it’s terrible so good.
So here are 5 things that make this video absolutely WTF, and thus iconic.
It starts out on level-10 with DeVante Swing sitting in the chair and then an IMMEDIATE cut to a woman with all the standard early 90s accouterment: big earrings, loud lipstick, big hair...on a rocking horse.
I don’t know what kind of frame of mind you have to be in to be thinking of shit to put in a music video where “rocking horse” makes sense, and then to make so much sense that it ends up as part of the final product. Like somebody actually said, “Hey, let’s put a woman on a rocking horse and have her, ya know, rock back and forth during the whole video. I think that might be dope.” In terms of ridiculous video props, rocking horse has got to be top 5 dead or alive.
This entire video is windy. You know how it seems like Beyoncé has her own personal wind machine and wind person following her around at all times, following in the footsteps of Michael Jackson who was a wind gawd in videos? Well, “Stay” is pantheon level windy. There was shit moving through the entire video. Drapes. Clothing. The FUCKING ROCKING HORSE. No matter what clothing they had on, it was moving. Shit felt like Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” video with four Black guys and a rocking horse.
They wore white throughout the entire video. White beach apparel with boots. White suits. Jeans. Hats. What have you. If it was white they were wearing it. In fact, come to think of it...they wore white in all their early videos. “Forever My Lady” featured a horribly all-white linen ensemble. Oh, wait, I’m wrong, “Come and Talk To Me” featured them in black leather (also a performance video with a leaner budget it seems than “Stay”, they just had a man and a woman feeling each other up in the shadows). The “Come and Talk To Me” remix video was the pool party where they had the terrible white see-thru get up. How the fuck were they so cool? Can’t lie, I wanted several of those outfits.
Now’s as good a time as any to point out that this video has jack shit to do with the song. At all. “Stay” is about remorse and trying again. This video features a rocking horse, which I’ve not yet seen as being indicative of remorse. Admittedly, I’m not up on effective ways to show remorse, but I would be surprised if “rocking horse” is on that list is all I’m saying.
A nice touch and a throwback to earlier times. Okay guys, that works. It bounces nicely off the white you’re wearing.
Did I mention the rocking horse? I may have forgotten to do this. It keeps making appearances. Interestingly enough, the woman on it is giving the horse that work as the video goes along. I’m surprised she didn’t fall off. Well, she probably did because if you give it too much work it’s going to flip over like a Ford Explorer in the 90s. Y’all remember when Ford Explorers were known for flipping over? And it was blamed on the Firestone tires? That started in the 90s. A Ford Explorer flipping over would have fit nicely in this video since that has nothing to do with staying either. (Granted, the Ford Explorer/Firestone thing really got attention in the mid-to-late 90s but that’s just splitting hairs.)
Anyway, Jodeci’s “Stay” is a video that exhibited a trend of the early 90s in music videos, stuff that makes no damn sense, and they made sure they’d never be forgotten. That, my friends, is iconic.