I do my best to stay hip with the kids because I need to stay #relevant out in these streets. So like any good millennial, I’ll frequent Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram and Buzzfeed (this one is kind of a stretch). TBT to when Facebook was the place to be, but now it has been taken over by our “technologically developed” family members and people who share political articles that are nothing more than click-bait. But I digress. I’ve reached a point in my life now where some terms used in pop culture have completely gone over my head and I NEED to know what they mean. Here’s what I learned:
This first appeared on my Twitter timeline as a meme and I thought “How Sway” had the same intonation as when someone says “how cute” after seeing a picture of a corgi in a tuxedo. Turns out it actually read as “how, Sway” in the form of a question. This comes from an interview on RapFix Live where Kanye expressed his frustration with the corporate structure of the fashion industry and how he’s experienced a lack of support and creative freedom from the companies he collaborated with. Show host Sway Calloway asked Kanye why he doesn’t just fund himself, and Kanye exploded with “How, Sway?” And so, “how, Sway” was born.
Now, it’s used in response to when someone asks you to do something that is seemingly impossible. Example: When Donald Trump claims he’s going to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, and that Mexico is going to pay for it. HOW, SWAY?!
The youths these days talk so fast that it’s no surprise that old woman Horna over here first thought it was pronounced as “It slit.” I was sorely mistaken. This term is best used to describe an event or situation that’s exciting and worth attending. When you think about it, it’s a great way to describe a party because who wants to go to a party that hasn’t warmed up yet? Example: When the baptism after-party has tacos AND a DJ, you know it’s gonna be lit.
I have trouble incorporating this phrase into my every day vocabulary because although I love it tremendously, I no longer find myself in situations that warrant these words. Most days I get home from my internship, eat dinner, watch some Netflix, and go to bed by 9:30pm. My nights haven’t been consistently “lit” since junior year of college. The closest thing I have to having something be “lit” is the lovely Coastal Breeze candle I burn as soon as I get home.
This one should be easy to decode. It’s obviously derived from family, meant to address your friends, your people, your community, your squad (if you will), or those you trust dearly as though they were your family. I first learned about this term from the world of Black Twitter – a cultural identity and virtual community on Twitter focused on issues and interests of the black community. Sidenote: Black Twitter is always clever and unapologetic. You might even say Black Twitter is lit, fam. (This is my embarrassing attempt to stay relevant.)
Though I would like to think that all roads lead to Beyonce, this word has no connection to her 2006 hit “Get Me Bodied.” Instead, it means to do something very well, almost to perfection, in a superlative way. I was introduced to this word on Comedy Central’s Snapchat Discover page during the weekly installment of “Swagasaurus.” Example: I just bodied that 10 mile run!
The only reason I don’t personally use this phrase is because it literally sounds way too cool for me to say. Even writing that example made me feel like a fraud.
Doing the Most
My dear friend Aly spent a year working for an organization that often collaborates with high school students in Texas and during her time she often heard the phrase “doing the most.” This phrase is used when someone is trying way too hard to be impressive but only causes self-embarrassment, i.e. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY EXAMPLES IN THIS POST. Another way of phrasing this is when a person is doing more than what the situation calls for or when someone goes beyond the call of duty.
Example: Candice really wanted to convince the landlord that she was the best candidate to rent the house so she gave them a letter of recommendation from her boss, former landlord, church pastor, doctor, and grandmother. She was just doing the most.
Out of all the words mentioned in this post, I probably feel most comfortable using this one in conversation. In fact, I used it once this week during a phone call with my best friend! Sidenote: Do teens know how to use the phone app on their devices nowadays?
Thanks for the invite. That’s it. Millennials (especially those still in college) will passively-aggressively text, tweet, and snapchat “TFTI” to one another. I really could have really used this in college when my sorority sisters gathered at one house to pregame and then posted those cute pictures on Instagram. I’m looking at you, Shannon.
You know how some people shudder at the word “moist” but don’t know why (sorry, trigger warning)? That’s exactly how I feel about “come through.” The phrase has two meanings, depending on how it’s executed.
The first meaning is used to invite someone over, but in the we’re-hanging-out-tonight-come-join-us kind of way, not the you-and-Owen-should-come-over-for-dinner-sometime kind of way. The key distinction here in these two scenarios is the time frame. “Come through” is reserved as an invite for an event that is most certainly happening at a specified time and place. It is not to be used in lieu of the ever-casual and insincere “we should get together sometime” invitation you say to that guy in your philosophy class whom you only talked to twice in college.
Two young ladies in their early twenties who work at my family’s restaurant use this all the time, so it might be that I just no longer have the patience for this younger vocabulary. On the other hand, I might be really bothered with this phrase because it just sounds so casual that I feel like there’s no real meaning or thought behind it. At my age – but mostly because I’m no longer in college – every time I want to spend time with friends I have to make plans, which means I have very little room for spontaneity. Maybe I’m just jealous over the fact that some people get to see their friends with such ease and on such short notice; meanwhile I have to pull out my planner just to have dinner with some friends.
The second meaning of “come through” can be used as an expression to signify approval and support. In order for this meaning to be understood as such, it needs to be said with the same gusto as when you say “YAAAAASSS” because these two phrases are essentially synonymous. Example: When the Supreme Court ruled that the Texas abortion laws were unconstitutional, my first thought was “COME THROUUUGHH REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS.”
The best way I describe this last term is with Drake’s iconic lyric, “started from the bottom now we here.” In other words, “glow up” refers to a transformation of sorts, either physically or professionally. For my visual learners, here’s an example that perfectly captures the glow up both physically and professionally:
Thanks for keeping me on toes, @youths.