This blog post was going to be my last here on Before and Afro.
I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to explain to you what these last two weeks have been like. I’ve been living in The Afro Twilight Zone, ending with a horrifying Hurricane Sandy. One minute I think I should just stop blogging altogether because it’s been a complete emotional drain to address all these concerns, and, well, highly questionable for my career. Then the next minute I re-read your comments and feel I could honestly help change the status quo with my pure and honest love for the fro. But then no, this controversial blog isn’t the way! People will always have negativity to share here and that’s not what I ever wanted. But what a waste of SEO! And I have been educating so many clueless white people! But no, I should just let the whole thing blow over now and go back to normalcy. Figure something out in a few weeks. For my personal health and to honor those of you who hold the fro dear, on Friday afternoon, I started to write a goodbye post.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I peered into the gloomy abyss of a failed attempt at expressing myself on the internet. “Alright, guys. I give up. I can’t do this anymore…”
Womping away, I met my family for a birthday dinner at Daniel Boulud Bistro Moderne, and couldn’t even smile. I faux-grinned for my cake pictures, my face drained of color.
After dinner we headed to what was supposed to be a festive occasion: A broadway show. We had gotten last minute tickets for Bring It On the musical. I walked in thinking it was going to be a rah-rah-shish-koom-bah reenactment of the movie.
But WHOAH. As it turned out, for this one night, the Broadway gods had gathered on my behalf and delivered an omen for Michelle Joni; a musical made just for me.
Since most of you have likely not jaunted to the thee-ATE-er for the musical rendition of a chick flick released over a decade ago, let me tell you how the story goes:
Campbell, the preppy white blonde protagonist (second from the left) just became captain of the cheerleading squad at Truman High. Woo hoo!!! Now SHUT UP. She and her white cheer friends started to annoy me fast. All I could think for the first fifteen minutes was: UGH, I knew we should have spent my dad’s retirement savings on Book of Mormon.
Then, one day, Campbell and her perfect little high school life got redistricted… to… DUN DUN DUN, Jackson High… the “ghetto school.” Guys, you would have not liked this part of the show at all! If you are offended by me, you should have seen all the stereotypes flying around this scene. Dark-skinned students walking around throwing rapper symbols. Campbell’s even whiter and blonder friend Skylar wishing her luck on her first day of school: “Don’t get shot!” Blasphemy! My commenters would not be pleased.
I will admit, the moment Campbell walked into Jackson High, my spirit lit up. Thank god we’re done with that stuffy white girl schoolyard. Look at those outfits! There was even a tranny with a fro!! WERQ.
The show became instantly more interesting. I realized at that moment maybe that’s one of the things about me – I grew up in Whitey McWhitey land… maybe I just got bored of whiteness. I’ve been over-saturated in monochrome my whole life. I never set out to appropriate anything (I just loved wearing a damn wig), but you’re learning along with me here. Maybe I subconsciously developed white cabin fever.
Anyway, on her first day at Jackson High, Campbell makes an all-too-familiar mistake: She very accidentally offends a group of black people. Whoah. Babygirl, I feel your pain! She made a reference to “my people.” What she meant was “my cheerleading squad” but that came out all wrong and all white. She serious? Did she just GURL me? Who does this new bitch think she is!?”
Campbell felt horrible. It was not what she meant, oh no, no, no. She proceeded to become a baffooning mess trying to explain herself and make it up to them.
This situation grew especially unfortunate for Campbell because the people she offended happened to be the dance crew, which she so desperately wanted to join.
White girl tried everything. Finally after a large kind gesture, the captain of the dance crew Danielle gave Campbell a chance to prove herself worthy! But it was not exactly a dignifying chance: She had to show her dancing chops… wearing a full-on leprechaun mascot suit. Like, with a giant fabric leprechaun face.
Campbell agreed to the embarrassing challenge. She would do anything to prove she was sorry and win over their love… even if it took dancing in an oversized costume of an Irish folk character. BRING IT ON.
And you know what? Homegirl broke it down. Killed it!! Even with a face like that and shoes too big, she shook that green little tush and stole the show. The dance crew was quite impressed. In a heartfelt ::magical:: moment, Danielle forgave Campbell for her earlier misstep, and invited her onto the dance crew. Everyone became best friends and life was happy again. Even the tranny with the fro loved her now!
THIS WAS IT. Yes, THIS was the answer to my troubles. If I am going to win back the love of those I have offended, I must put on a giant leprechaun suit and dance. My mood from earlier did a 180. Surely this obscure musical script held the holy grail to solving my life problems!!!
And so, without further adieu, I present to you: Michelle Joni’s Leprechaun Dance.
Yay! I’m so glad we cleared that up. Now we can move on, right?
There’s another whole act after the Leprechaun Dance which I won’t ruin for you because you REALLY should go see it, but just know it’s chock full of life lessons that seem to have been tailor-made for me in the situation at hand. Who knew Bring It On would bring THIS on? This sense of hope? This reborn feeling that I need to continue this journey, and honor it?
At the end, Danielle relays the most beautiful line of the entire show:
“Campbell, I used to think you were a spoiled little white bitch. Now you’re just white!”
And they all lived happily ever after.
So we’re all good here, right?
In all seriousness, guys… we just experienced one of the most devastating natural disasters of our time. I’ve had a very hard time blogging because of it (mentally), which is why this post took forever. Sandy has really put things into perspective. My street is fully underwater. Businesses cannot operate. Our fellow people have lost their homes, their vehicles, and their dear, dear loved ones. We have joined hands to help one another, opening our homes to our friends and neighbors, offering prayers where we cannot help. I am so very proud to be a New Yorker – and an American – right now.
It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring us together, but the way I see it, it doesn’t. We have come so far in oneness in our daily lives, and I feel it every day. There is love in the air. Breathe it in with me! That LOVE is available to you at all times. It is in you. You can attain it and spread it. You are love.
Petty differences have been cast aside in the wake of devastation… let’s remember this feeling. We are one. As one, we don’t merely survive… we thrive.
It’s going to take far more than a leprechaun dance to fix the damage wrought by Sandy’s fury – or anything for that matter – but it never hurts to start with a smile.