Black in the Day is an ongoing series about Black nostalgia that covers very specific topics. This week, it’s all about words or phrases that you might have heard growing up.
“You got McDonald’s money?”
“When we get in this store, don’t look at nothing and don’t ask for nothing.”
“That ain’t nothing but the devil.”
If any of those phrases are familiar to you, then you probably grew up in a Black household. Those phrases, like so many others, are etched in the fabric of many Black childhoods. Some of those phrases—like, “You got (such and such) money?”—are still very much used today.
Not all phrases came from Black mothers, though. There were others, like, “I’m just trying to get like you,” which served as popular ways to compliment someone whenever you admired their outfit or if they were doing pretty well in life.
Don’t forget that there were also certain words and phrases that were unique to specific Black cities, which most of us only learned about through song lyrics or by traveling to those areas. (This was all before the social media age, because now you can just open up an app and hear about colloquialisms from at least 10 different cities in under a minute.) No matter how you grew up, there are at least one or two expressions you probably used to say that were popular in your hometown.
In our ongoing series, Black in the Day, we talk to several people who shared some of their most memorable sayings—from stark truths spoken by Black mamas everywhere (“I ain’t one of your little friends”) to words of encouragement from our friends (“OK, I see you”), these expressions will have you laughing all the way down memory lane. See the full video above.