If you don't remember the R&B singer Tweet, then I bet you remember her hit song from 2002, "Oops (Oh My)". The song, which has a beat that's catchy as hell and features Missy Elliot, has also become a sort of feminist masturbation anthem to those of us who heard it as preeteens and teens and thought, Oh my God, other girls do that too?
If you still don't remember what I'm talking about, perhaps these lyrics ring a bell?
I looked over to my leftMmm, I was lookin' so good I couldn't reject myselfI looked over to my leftMmm, I was feelin' so good I had to touch myselfI looked over to the leftMmm, I was eyein' my thighs, butter pecan brownI looked over to the leftMmm, Coming out of my shirt and then my skirt came down
Oops! There goes my shirt up over my head, oh myOops! There goes my skirt droppin' to my feet, oh myOh! Some kind of touch caressing my legs, oh my
Definitely sounds like she's talking about masturbation, right? Apparently not. Tweet, who's now 44 years old, reveals to Bustle that it actually wasn't her intention to write a song about female masturbation at all.
"People can take their definition of what any song means to them, but for me, the song wasn’t about masturbation — it was about self-love," the singer tells Bustle. Tweet says she got the idea after she watched an episode of Oprah where a doctor advised everyone to look at themselves in the mirror naked to foster self-acceptance. She was inspired — and wrote "Oops (Oh My)" about doing just that.
"That’s what the song was about — getting naked and just loving what you saw," Tweet says. So there you have it: the song was somewhat ahead of its time, but not because she meant it to be about female masturbation. It was about body positivity.
"It was empowering for me to write the song because I felt like I didn’t love myself. I came from a time where my skin — being a dark-skinned woman — it wasn’t really 'in'. I would always be teased for my skin color. I would always be called different names for my skin color, so I was empowering myself in writing the song."
Tweet says that although some fans got her intended message, plenty of people also thought "Oops (Oh My)" was about masturbation. "I have gotten every type of response you can imagine. A lot of women have said that I helped them become comfortable with their bodies. And then negatively, [some] people have said 'how could you even sing something like that?!'"
The singer has been celibate by choice since 2005. "And I will remain that way until God sends me my husband," Tweet says.
If you haven't heard about Tweet since the song came out, it's because she actually hadn't released a full album since 2005 — until now. Charlene , available for pre-order now, is her comeback album. Charlene also features Missy Eliot again, on the track “Somebody Else Will”. ("I couldn’t do a record without her breathing on something," Tweet says.) If the track "Magic" is any indication, those of us who miss '90s R&B will not be disappointed.
So what has Tweet been up to for the last decade? She says she took the time to focus on her family and religion, after her ex-boyfriend got another woman pregnant, leaving her devastated. In fact, though she's a mother and grandmother, the singer has been celibate by choice since 2005. "And I will remain that way until God sends me my husband," Tweet says. "My relationship with God is more important than anything, but once he sends me a husband, I’m open to that."
You'd think that perhaps, since she is religious and currently celibate, Tweet wouldn't love being best known for a song that most people think is about masturbation. Well, give her some credit — (she is friends with Missy, after all).
"When I wrote the song, it didn’t matter to me what other people thought. I had to send out that message for me — so I could help myself. And in helping myself, I could help somebody else." She's glad that people can interpret the song in any way that's helpful to them.