“Girls, I’d like to make a toast on the behalf of men: here’s to the men we love, here’s to the men who love us, here’s to the men we love who don’t love us…fuck the men, let’s drink to us!”
In honor of International Men’s Day, I present to you all: Willa Ford‘s 2003 opus with rapper Lady May, “F**k The Men (A Toast To Men).”
Co-crafted with Toby Gad (of John Legend‘s “All of Me” and Beyoncé‘s “If I Were a Boy,” among many others), the rowdy middle finger of a banger aimed at the most inferior gender was sent out as the first taste of the since-shelved sophomore album Sexysexobsessive (more on that later), inspired by a sorority chant she once heard some girls do while raising their glasses at a party.
“It was a no-brainer. I had to do a song about it,” the then-22-year-old Bad Girl of Pop™ told Rolling Stone at the time. “It’s about a bunch of chicks dancing and getting it on in a no-boys-allowed situation.”
In the two years post-“I Wanna Be Bad,” while working on the Willa Was Here follow-up, Willa said she spent her downtime in her NYC hotel room playing guitar and frequenting punk rock karaoke night in the LES, like any rock chick would.
She also boldly claimed she “was part of the revolution, as far as changing the way people think of pop music” and “wanted it to be sexy and fierce and be OK to say the word ‘fuck.’ I just needed some time to get out of it and figure out what the fuck was going on.” (Fuck yes, she was!)
The racy song could slot in somewhere between the most cocky, empowering and raucous parts of Christina Aguilera‘s Stripped (and/or Bionic, truthfully), Britney‘s In The Zone and Fergie‘s The Dutchess, and is full of incredible declarations, especially as she hits that dancehall-inspired bridge: “Fuck ’em all ’cause men don’t have nothing but dicks on us / Fuck ’em all ’cause they soft then beg us to strap on us / Get your big “O,” no love making, let him know his bitch was faking.” Just…chef’s kiss.
A year later in 2004, while talking shit with the Orlando Weekly about calling Paris Hilton “a c-nt” in Blender (“I just kind of like read it and then I laughed”), dragging Britney (“she was mean to me before I was anybody”) and referring to herself as a “f-g hag” (the early ’00s!), Willa revealed that “A Toast to Men” was “supposed to just be this club thing, and it ended up going on radio…and took off.”
Well, yes! Kind of! The song went to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales, got a full remix EP (available on streaming!), and was featured in Barbershop 2: Back in Business.
A few fragments of what would have been Sexysexobsessive have since made their way onto the Internet, including the legitimately hot title track “Sexy Sex Obsessive”, “Rock Tonight,” “Back Back Back” and arguably the most insane and experimental offering, “Who I Am (Who Am I),” an ahead-of-its-time questioning of gender roles and sexuality, which sounds like a Y2K pop girlie covering Björk‘s “Hyperballad” and/or “Jóga,” who she was indeed listening to at the time, according to the Orlando Weekly.
Adding to the general chaos of Willa’s career, German pop singer Sandra later recorded “Who I Am” herself for her 2009 album. But then again, Willa also recorded “Not Such an Innocent Girl” well before Victoria Beckham made her solo debut and punished us with the same tune. Just another example of being ahead of her time!
You might have read some rather pointed headlines about Willa back in 2017, after she lamented during an interview with Billboard that her “I Wanna Be Bad” follow-up single “Did ‘Ya Understand That” dropped on 9/11, seemingly suggesting the September 11 attacks contributed to her music career’s swift demise.
She later hit back at the inflammatory headlines, saying she did not blame 9/11, and her words were “meant to be an inspirational piece about how the universe sent me in a new and different direction.” (As for “A Toast to Men” co-star Lady May, her own scrapped album May Day hit the Internet this past summer, 21 years later.)
After ditching music (for now), Willa later did Dancing With The Stars in 2006 paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, stole the show as the character Chelsea in the Friday the 13th reboot in 2009, and was at one point cast and immediately dropped from the movie Assassin’s Fury for allegedly “being a nightmare to be around” who “made the shoot a really sad place to be,” according to producer Fabio Soldani. She is now an interior designer.
Fuck the men, let’s drink to Willa!