Don’t Be Cruel

Do you remember the summer of 1988? 

I remember listening to Bobby Brown’s iconic song, “Don’t Be Cruel” that was on his album of the same name. I recall knowing all the words and singing along with Bobby – he was SO fine! 

“Hey yo’ Kimmy what’s up with this attitude
I thought I was bein’ real good to you
I treat you sweet, take you out at night
But you never say thanks girl that ain’t right…”

Bobby clearly was really feelin’ Kimmy and he wanted her to realize that he treated her right and was trying to understand why she wasn’t reciprocating.

“Girl, I work so hard for you from 9 to 5
So you could have the finer things in life
Since you’re the kind that’s never satisfied
Oh oh, girl
As long as I’ve been givin’ my heart to you
You should be givin’ me your heart, too
But you just keep on actin’ just like a fool
You know it ain’t cool.”

Kimmy, come on now! You got a man that’s loving you, gifting you AND giving you his time and attention – okayyyyy!

I think the meaning of the song can be summed up in the chorus: 

“Uh don’t be cruel
‘Cause I would never be that cruel to you
Uh no, oh oh, no, Uh don’t be cruel
Uh girl, you need to change your attitude, Uh no, oh
Uh don’t be cruel!”

“To be with me Bobby B., but with a bad attitude I can’t compete.”

The song is about a bad attitude. Regardless of how much Bobby B. wants to be with this woman, her bad attitude is the deal breaker.

A man once shared with me that he felt that I could never be happy, and that whatever he did for me was only as good as the day long. 

Wait, what?  Was he implying I was like Kimmy in the song? Ungrateful and unappreciative of whatever attempts at romance and relationship he was offering me. Who me????  Ha! Maybe, but maybe not. 

Put it into practice – I invite you to take inventory of your relationships and see where you tend to have a bad attitude and then develop some ways that you could express more recognition and appreciation. You may even see this reflected to you as it becomes a practice. If not, do not let that discourage you from showing up with gratitude. 


Next, let’s unpack those two words…B-A-D and A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E. Bad means of poor quality, unfavorable, decayed, or putrid. Attitude is our disposition, a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something and is typically reflected in our behavior. When bad is coupled with attitude, we all understand the negative context of these two words:  BAD ATTITUDE.

When I have a bad attitude, I generously share it with others even when they don’t ask me to.  I share it in my facial expressions, with my words and even my social media postings can be sharp and pointed.

I’m not overlooking the facts that as women, we experience marginalization, exclusion, under-appreciation, betrayal and more. But, equally, we have to recognize and celebrate, we have been blessed with opportunities, unique experiences, laughter, recognition, and more. I find truth to that statement “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

Today, maybe you have a bad attitude or there’s one waiting right around the corner for you. Before you go full speed into it, pause – and recognize and honor the goodness that’s all around you and always recognize the goodness of God.

And if you you’ve never heard Don’t Be Cruel or have no idea who Bobby Brown is….I encourage you to listen.

Mantras for the month – when is the last time you intentionally memorized a bible verse? I invite you to choose one of the verses below to commit to memory this month:

“(Insert your name here) Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:8 (The Passion Translation)

“(Insert your name here) Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead, be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.”  Ephesians 4:31-32 (The Passion Translation)

Start typing and press Enter to search