Sunday, November 9, 2008
I WOULDA LAUGHED BUT I KEPT CRYING
Sometimes, I'm like a white girl in the third row at a Jonas Bros. concert.
I cry, no, weep, like a bitch.
Lately, I cry when the sun comes up slightly hidden by a puffy gray cloud. I cry when any Marvin Hamlisch jam comes on. I cry when my jeans don't crease in a straight line. Hell, I cry when I notice the lovely way my hair curls just at the tip of my temples (I have "good" hair).
I cried when Barack spoke to ME in Henderson recently (Henderson: Completely lame suburb of Las Vegas. Imagine, a suburb of Vegas. Tres gauche. That's French for "why yes, I'll have Vanilla ice cream with my white milk".). When he talked about, well, anything I opened up like a black hooker who just found the holy ghost.
So, I takes myself (I said "takes". What?)over to the Rave Motion Picture Theaters to see the latest Black People movie, SOUL MEN, starring Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes and some other black people and "just Jack" from Will and Grace.
And then it started. The movie, not the bawling.
During the opening credits there is a montage of the 70's in Black America.
I started to think of my aunt and uncle, the Reverend Doctor Brother Mr Gil T. Uncle Lloyd and his wife Aunt Doris.
They were the people who, on every birthday and at Christmas made sure that I got the latest book on Black History. They always told me that I had to be twice as good as any white person to get to the same place as them. They made sure my English was spoken in a way that would take me into any office or situation in America. They pushed me to excel. Because of them I interviewed the very first Black Astronaut for the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
"SAY IT LOUD! I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD!"
I started to mist up.
They died about 5 yrs ago. They never saw a Black President. My uncle organized civil rights marches against redlining in Seattle. He and my aunt Doris were the most respected couple in Black Seattle.
"LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING, TILL EARTH AND HEAVEN RING, RING WITH THE HARMONY OF LIBERTY!"
Oh yeah, I was THIS close to straight up crying.
I thought of my great grandmother, Sarah Watts. She slept in our hall closet.
It was big. She was little.
She ate wheat germ everyday and always preached against canned foods and preservatives. Every Tuesday a truck would pull up and deliver her distilled water.
We thought she was crazy.
She lived 'till she was was 92 years old.
"WADE IN THE WATER. WADE IN THE WATER CHILDREN NOW! WADE IN THE WATER, GOD'S GONNA TROUBLE THE WATER".
Sarah Watts always sat me in the window seat in our big brownstone and told me all about our family in such places as Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama. That's where "our people" were from. Never Selma. I got the impression that people from Selma were "common". My great grandmother would tell me stories about Mary Mcleod Bethune and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. Did you know a "colored" man invented the traffic signal? Sarah Watts told me so.
She never imagined a Black President. Unless it was me. Yes, she imagined that.
As I was watching the movie's 70's montage I remembered going to the All Bear summer day camp ( Ironic. No?) . On the way Mr. Robinson would be playing the radio loud and we would be singing along.
"SMILING FACES. SMILING FACES, SOMETIMES, THEY DON'T TELL THE TRUTH. CAN YOU DIG IT CAN YOU DIG IT?"
I can still feel my afro flowing in the damp Chicago summer wind and wishing I was back at home all fat and happy in my room wishing I had a '72 Cadillac with the Pimp Lens lights.
"DIAMOND IN THE BACK. SUN ROOF TOP. DIGGIN' THE SCENE IN WITH A GANGSTER LEAN. OOOH OOOH OOOH"
The tears were fighting to get out like my thighs in my stupid Hunter green polyester slacks I had to wear to St. Philip Neri middle school (only the best for me).
You know, it's fucked being a fat kid. I went to a freakin' catholic school and not one priest even thought about molesting me.
"PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE, DADGUMMIT! WHEREVER HE LAID HIS HAT WAS HIS HOME! AND WHEN HE DIED! ALL HE LEFT US WAS ALONE".
I thought of my uncle Rip and his "wife" Lil and Eugenie and my little 6 year old cousin Michael who went out to play and died of an asthma attack.
"THE GREED OF MAN WILL BE FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'CAUSE THEY WON'T GO WHERE I GO".
None of them ever saw a Black President.
I thought of my crazy ass best friend Christopher Maldonado ( OH FUCK, I'M CRYING AGAIN!)who went to the Bahamas to fill in as makeup artist on a video shoot and ended up a side note to Aliyahs name when their plane went down.
"MY BODY'S BURNING BABY INTO THE NIGHT. MOVE ME! BABY CAN YOU GROOVE ME? YOU MAKE ME BEG FOR MORE! YOU GIVE ME MORE! CARESS ME!"
Chris never saw a Black President..
On January 20th 2009, I will see a black president.
And you can bet I'm gonna cry.
Oh, the movie.
Wait till you can Netflix it.