25 years ago, everything changed. Baby, Ginger, Posh, Scary, and Sporty—adjectives to some, icons to others—transformed all of our lives permanently. The era of Spice began.
The Spice Girls launched into superstardom on Nov. 4, 1996, with the release of their debut album Spice, which went on to become one of the best-selling albums in history and led to them becoming the best-selling girl-group of all time. This November marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of that fateful release, and to celebrate the group is re-releasing the album with never-before-heard material.
Many of my Gen-Z contemporaries argue that the Spice Girls are outdated and think they are a relic of the ’90s. Even The New York Times seems to affirm this notion, writing about a Spice Girls generation born between “Labor Day 1985 and New Year’s Eve 1991, approximately.” All of this misinformation minimizes the substantial impact the group has had on pop culture in the past 25 years. So, in honor of the upcoming re-release of Spice, I’ve compiled a list of some memorable references to the Spice Girls in the past quarter century to show that their influence still looms large on my generation.
- Chicken Little (2005) Dance
One of the most memorable scenes in this classic Disney film is when Abby and Runt sing along to “Wannabe” while hilariously trying to coordinate their dancing. The song is a particularly apt choice given its clear themes of friendship and empowerment. Watching the scene makes you want to just get up and “zigazig ah.”
2. “My Name Is” by Eminem
This Grammy-winning song features a quick reference to the Spice Girls in the first verse, demonstrating that these legends’ influence spread further than their critics like to admit. Not even Slim Shady could keep them out of his mind.
The New Directions Girls perform “Wannabe” in season four episode 17, replete with coordinated dance moves and each of the Spice Girls’ recognizable costumes, including the Union Jack dress—an icon in its own right. Their joyful performance and the roaring cheers it receives demonstrate that there’s nothing embarrassing about loving the Spice Girls.
4. “Spice Girl” by Aminé
Aminé starts this masterpiece off his debut album Good for You by paying homage to these goddesses with the line, “I need a Spice Girl / Zig-a-Zig-ah, fuck up my whole world.” The rapper drops hints throughout the song that demonstrate his admiration for the group. Make sure to watch the equally brilliant music video for a very special cameo.
5. The Boys
This is probably the most bizarre reference to the Spice Girls on this list. In the 2019 television series The Boys, Billy (Karl Urban) has to convince his team to stick together instead of going their separate ways and chooses to do so by giving them a pep talk about the Spice Girls. For over a minute, he explains their individual fates after breaking up, which somehow gets the Boys back together.
6. 6 Underground
The worst thing about this horrible Michael Bay film starring Ryan Reynolds is the opening car chase in Florence, Italy, in which Reynolds’ tasteless character bluntly rips out the stereo of their Alfa Romeo after Dave Franco’s character starts to play “Wannabe.” I knew right then that this was going to be a shitty movie. Haters gonna hate, but icons will always be icons.