This morning I happily drove to pick up copies of The New York Times featuring an article about Amandla’s friendship with fellow actor Rowan Blanchard. Ahead of me was a very large man – in height and girth – who purchased half a dozen magazines.
“Would you like a bag with that?” asked the newsstand man.
“No, thanks,” replied the customer.
I placed my five hefty issues of the Sunday Times on the counter and handed him my credit card. He rang up my purchase. Silence. “May I have a bag please?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said, reaching for a white plastic bag behind him and placing the papers inside.
I immediately launched into my default way of being and interacting in the world, a tactic I think I learned, perhaps unconsciously, from my mother. I engaged him.
I imagine the time Harry Belafonte sat in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show was as anticipated as the latest episode of the webcast series Verzuz showcasing Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight.
The two Black culture events converged for me last weekend when I watched the documentary about the historic Woke Week, The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, and the so-called battle of the R&B divas on the same day.
As soon as that preposterous photo of President Trump brandishing the bible hit the stratosphere, I intuitively sensed who was behind his pilgrimage from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“This reeks of the First Daughter,” I shared with a friend. I sat up straight in my chair, threw my shoulders back, thrust out my chin and cheekbones (mine are natural, without benefit of a plastic surgeon’s scalpel) and delivered my best Ivanka.
“Daddy, this is an important moment,” I tittered, lips pursed. “It will be like Moses and the Ten Commandments.”
My friend laughed. “Is she like the girls you attended school with?”
“Oh no! She went to Chapin. Brearley girls are not like that.”
Three decades later, I’m embarrassed to admit it remains etched in my consciousness that Chapin girls are blonde and snooty whereas Brearley girls are brighter, better, more magnanimous.
The truth is much more complicated.
I was just as outraged as the rest of the world when I first saw the video of Amy Cooper wielding her white privilege in Central Park, her shrieks penetrating like a sword in an ultimately futile attempt to cut down Christian Cooper (no relation). One month later, the video is now at 45 million views.
In fact, I was so very outraged I consciously chose to ignore the slight inflicted by Christian’s sister, Melody, in her tweet that circled the globe.
I like to make stuff...and think about stuff.