What a Difference a Rose Makes!
When Mo and Maritri finished performing "NORMAL" (which has become the official song for independents), I made my way backstage. That was my self-directed cue to close out the show. I was ready with my special shout outs. I knew something had shifted in the program, though, when Saddi Khali (the host) said,
"April, I'm not going to bring you on as we planned. Mo asked if he could do that. ?"
"Cool. That's fine." I had a feeling that something might be going down. Saddi was giving me this knowing look that said "Gurl, you about to be hooked up!"
It gets a little blurry after that, LOL! I do remember, however, that my head was spinning and I was tingling with pure happiness! A packed stage, the crowded house...Joe's Pub was filled with, as Tulani Kinard said to me later, a positive "circular energy." All night, the vibe was honey-sweet!
As golden as it was, I was overwhelmed. I've been a public speaker all my adult life and ironically, I don't get jitters before I speak. I always get nervous afterwards. (I know...its weird but true). So the fact that I was trembling before I began my acknowledgements was yet another indicator of how different this night was. In native Yoruba language, I stumbled through giving thanks to God, my ancestors, and went on to thank my mother (who flew in from Atlanta just to join in on the celebration), my father, my brother, the "A" Team, our clients, and so on.
When I finished, Mo took over the show and wouldn't let me leave the stage. He took great care to "introduce" or "re-introduce" me to the audience...giving them a peak into my activism over the past 20+ years. I may be wrong on the order here, but the next thing I recall, flowers were being presented from Mo. Then I saw "my guys" (my beloved male clients) needling through mic stands and guitar amps trying to get in on the presentation. Byron, I swear, went from the back of Joe's Pub to the stage in nano seconds. I turned around and there was Kevin, leaning on the piano like "Gurl, you about to get hooked up!"
So Mo is singing all these wonderful praises about me and the company like he and I haven't been getting on each other's nerves for the past few weeks, LOL! But I'm taking it all in (practicing how to accept, not deflect my blessings). Then Mo tells "the guys" to help him spread red and white petals at my feet, as a gesture of respect. They oblige and you could hear the loving sighs from the audience. I, on the other hand, was trying not to topple over. While in the moment, I couldn't tell that there was more.
To Be Delivered Daily
Mo continued to talk of how I work around the clock and how I don't take enough time for myself (that applies to probably 99% of the people reading this blog, for sure!). I do get very involved in work and most days I forget to eat. And I work 18 - 20 hours a day every day. My body's clock doesn't require much sleep (which is an asset when you grind like most independents do). Knowing my flow, my fellow workaholics Esther Armah, Mo Beasley, Kevin Powell, Jelani Cobb (who couldn't be there), and Byron Hurt came up with a different kind of "intervention." They all conspired to gift me with a personal chef! Yes, they secured the services of a personal chef who will cook meals for me...and the meals will be delivered to my home/office Monday through Friday for the entire month of May!
Say Yes to "Bright Moments"
I share my excitement here not to brag or be self-indulgent about a week-old event, but to access the brighter moments of life. As I said from the stage, every day that we wake up we are engaged in a war on some level. Women are fighting against men and mentalities steeped in fear and hate. People who are poor (the phrase "poor people" is so condescending and prescriptive) are fighting against "fat cats." People of color are fighting against racism. Same gender-loving communities are fighting against homophobes. I could go on. I share these moments, though, because we need more marks in the "W" column. We need to promote our victories, especially since we live in a society that doesn't respect good news. While we resist and combat and challenge the things that destroy love, we must also create and share the good news. They are good for the soul.
The only way I know how to respond to such a glory-filled night is to say THANK YOU with all my heart and soul. May all blessings for me and my company go right back to you. Your good vibrations have elevated us to another level and we are accountable! My mother always says "Every rung gets higher and higher!" and I am working diligently to live up to the honors placed upon me and the company. We are flawed and full of shortcomings and I can be slow as hell in returning emails and phone calls (there are lots and lots of those). But we're committed to making qualitative improvements...all day every day. Everyday, we strive to do what we do more powerfully.
A SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to Mo, Jelani, Byron, and Kevin. Behind your great act of kindness, there is great symbolism. Women, and Black women in particular, REALLY need to see men lifting us up. As you know, we are bombarded with how much men, including our brothers, beat us up to tear us down. You all counter that mentality every day and we honor you for that.
Another SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to Esther. You are the epitome of a powerful woman and you uphold sisterhood so beautifully. I honor you and Thank God for the whirlwind that you are. New York has not been the same since you arrived!