15 years after its debut, we look back at the 2004 hit single “My Boo” by famed American singer/songwriter Usher Raymond IV from his fourth album, Confessions. Not only did this classic song top the Billboard 100 for six weeks straight, it also went on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. But did you know this song contains a secret message?
That’s right, when Usher refers to Alicia Keys as “My Boo” what he really means is “My Boudicca, folk hero and queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61, killing an estimated 70,000-80,000 Roman and Britons in a crisis that caused Emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, that is until the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus won a decisive victory against British forces somewhere in the West Midlands which ultimately lead to Boudicca’s death either by suicide (according to Tacitus) or of an unknown illness (according to Cassius Dio). These events were, of course, kickstarted after the death of Boudicca’s husband Prasugatus, who ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome. After his death, Prasugatus’ will explicitly left his kingdom jointly to he and Boudicca’s two daughters. This will was ignored, and Rome proceeded to annex his kingdom, seize his property, and violate his daughters, prompting Boudicca to respond by leading the Iceni, Trinovantes, and others in a revolt that destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), which was once a capital of the Trinovantes, but now served as a colonia for discharged Roman soldiers and site of a temple to the former Emperor Claudius. Proceeding to her next target, Boudicca led her army of Iceni and Trinovantes to Londinium (modern London) and Verulamium in a bloody clash against the Legio IX Hispana that ended in the razing of both settlements and defeat of the Roman detachment. Interest in these events was revived in the English Renaissance, with Boudicca’s fame bleeding into the Victorian era and beyond, as she remains an important cultural symbol to the United Kingdom.”
Absolutely breathtaking. Usher sure is a good songwriter.