In 2002, when rapper Nelly and former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland teamed up for the chart-topping hit “Dilemma,” they had no idea that they would be creating one of the biggest mysteries of our generation.
In the video for the song, Nelly and Kelly played the role of two people who liked one another, but they could not be with each other because Kelly was dating someone else. However, just when things started to look like they could work out, a texting mix up put a damper on everything.
If you recall correctly, Kelly was using an Excel spreadsheet to send the text, and left many of us scratching our heads. Texting with flip phones were definitely not as easy as using an iPhone or Android device, but we certainly never used Excel to help us send our messages. I mean, how would someone even open Excel on a device that wasn’t a smartphone?
I will take every opportunity to talk about the Excel spreadsheet texting in Nelly & Kelly’s 2002 hit “Dilemma” pic.twitter.com/Bs2FEKr7oc
— Michelle (@miiiiiche) July 15, 2016
It has been 15 years since Kelly confused the heck out of us, and we are still searching for answers. Last year, Nelly got our hopes up when he tried to give an explanation, but all he did was make the entire thing more puzzling. I don’t think he knew what he was being asked exactly.
“That was the thing at the time! That was the new technology at the time,” Nelly said in an interview on Australia’s The Project. “It looks a little dated now, I can see that.”
Some fans argue that maybe Kelly needed the spreadsheet to draft her messages before sending them through the text window, while others say it was a mistake that was overlooked by the editors, but while those explanations could be true, they don’t seem to fit.
However, a recent theory posted by a fan on Facebook, may have finally given us the answer we’ve been dying to know.
For those who thought Kelly’s use of Excel to send SMS messages in that “Dilemma” scene was a little too far-fetched, you may have been wrong this whole time.
According to one Facebook user, before smartphones became the norm people did use programs like Excel to send texts, but it was limited to group messages.
“To answer it all. Before Twitter (first mass sms that saved $$ per text), you would need to use programs like excel to send out mass sms (short message service) via a computer or early smartphone,” explained the Facebook user in response to an article.
They continued, “Eventually this established sns, or social networking systems, by 2007 ish. However, it was cheaper to communicate through sms at the time (2002.) Texting was still a premium and expensive feature until 2003 ish. The big problem is that she was pissed because it was a mass sms and she knew. So correction to the article, you technically could sms your bae at the time through excel.”
Another user tried to challenge this explanation, but then a third person chimed in with a link that proved that sending bulk texts through Excel was always a thing, and it still exists. Mind=blown!
Turns out plug-ins like MSG91 will allow you to import and save your contacts, then send custom group messages directly from Excel or Google Sheets, both of which can be accessed on a cellphone.
Looks like Kelly was way ahead of her time and figured out the best way to send multiple messages in one go was via excel, and couldn’t be bothered to use the messaging app on her phone.
This may be the answer to one of pop culture’s greatest mysteries.