The Lingering 1990s

Returning Trends

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Creative Commons

“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” 1990-1996 (NBC)

Astra Young, Contributor

Many people of the current generation have a natural predisposition to being disinterested in the past. ‘This is Gen Z, why would we care about whatever stuff was happening back then. No TikTok, no mumble rap and generic pop, it’s obviously not important.’

However, many of the things we enjoy today were shaped off of the ’90s. The new wave of society with infinite possibilities, new coming technology, etc… But the time was so promising and hopeful then.

For example, ’90s music- it shaped the foundation of what we enjoy today, being original and carrying meaning. In my personal opinion, hip hop’s golden era was in the nineties. Iconic rapper Tupac Shakur was a large portion of this. His verses were relevant, important, reflective, highlighting trust, racial injustice, and the overall issue with society. J. Cole, a currently relevant rapper, said TuPac shaped his style significantly, and Kendrick Lamar has also expressed his admiration for Pac. Ice Cube, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, are all other well-known rappers from the ’90s. Grunge band Nirvana had people at a loss for words, not only because of the music but because of how genuine the band was. Advocating for equality in every aspect through satirical lyrics, they called out major social issues. There was, of course, our favorite RnB group TLC, with their iconic songs No Scrubs and Waterfalls, rapper and singer Lauryn Hills, who is a personal favorite, and popstar Britney Spears. Spice Girls, Oasis, Madonna, and R.E.M. were more artists I’m sure our parents can recall.

Television took a large turn, animation improving and Disney creating some of its best movies. MTV was a large source of entertainment and pop culture. The show F.R.I.E.N.D.S, who I’m sure we’ve all heard of, became a Sunday night activity. Nickelodeon was well known for their popular kids cartoons, including Rugrats, the nostalgic show where a bunch of toddlers get into repetitive mischief, Hey Arnold which addressed social and political issues, Powerpuff Girls which was an early show encouraging feminism, and MTV’s hit Daria, a show about a cynical teenage girl. MTV was also a significant part of the ’90s, streaming drama and reality TV shows.

One of my favorite shows staring Will Smith was Fresh Prince of Bel Air, involving Will. “In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool
And all shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
She said, “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.” — (via. Fresh Prince theme opening.)

Another highlight; the fashion. Scrunchies, which made a large comeback with the VSCO girl meme, were often worn then, along with flannel, platform sneakers, bomber jackets, and Timberlands. With the mix of the preppy look, grunge look, and feminine highschool aesthetic, many of the fashion trends are returning.