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How many times can YOU say "HBCU"?

My night at the Kennedy Center was......amazing. Simply amazing.

I started the day off right...I had my stuff all ready from the night before. I knew that they wouldn't start giving tickets out until about 4...but I wanted to get there early enough just in case a line had already started to form. So, when did I arrive in the doors of the KC?


Yep. There was no line to be seen, and after I asked around about where everything was going to be, it felt a little awkward being there so early. So I walked around the KC for a few minutes, feeling like I was in a beautiful mansion. Then, I eventually became bored and went walking around DC. Yes, you heard me. Walking around DC. In my Sunday best. I managed to get in touch with a friend at just the right time, and he and I spent some time together. After that, he left, and I noticed it was about 2:50, so I started heading back toward the KC again. I get there, and there was a line like you would NOT believe. It was crazy. Long story short....I got my ticket, had much waiting time to spare, talked with some people, and then the show started.

Everyone that I talked to kept saying the same thing "This is like a big reunion" because people were seeing other alumni that they didn't even know about. Which was cool.

Now, here's where the excitement builds within me again. I sat in anticipation at the entrance of Ms. Phylicia Rashad. Talking with the people sitting next to me, a husband and wife(who happened to be the people that I conversed with while in line). They must have thought I was crazy, constantly looking at my watch, and counting down the minutes.  But the husband said "You are just excited and having fun. There's nothing wrong with that."

So, eventually, everyone became seated, the lights dimmed, and a voice was overheard...and then her name was said, and she came forth. I saw her walk across the stage, her outfit was beautiful and so was she. She walked with such grace, as she approached the podium. I stood up, and then others began to stand up until the whole room had followed suit. She spoke with such elegance. Taking her time with her words, speaking so gently and kindly, as if she were calming a child's fears before putting them to bed. Not an ounce of arrogance or selfish pride.

She then talked about the history of HBCU's and how important they are, as well as the importance of African American contributions to the arts. Which was rather interesting. And for this to have been as big of a turnout as it was...was amazing.

She then introduced other people, chairmen, directors and such, and they came and spoke about things that almost put me to sleep. (Which is a bad thing to have happen before the show even really starts) And then she introduced the choir.

And when I tell you they performed...they PERFORMED! Child, please. They brought tears to my eyes. I cried. Much of what was sung was old spiritual songs, but it was worth it.

Think about it, though. 105 people, from all over...coming together...singing as one! That's pretty cool.

And something else that I thought was cool, was that one of the members of the choir was presented with a $10,000 scholarship check! That was awesome! And it was funny, because the lady(I believe she was the founder of 105 Voices of History) came out and talked about it a little bit, and THEN she had Phylicia come out...and pick a name out of a box of all the names of the choir members, to see who would get the check. Oh my gosh! When Phylicia heard was like "D'OH!"

Then after all of that, it was all over...the KC was filled with people again, and I heard someone talk about trying to get a picture with Phylicia, and I thought about doing that, but all I had was my cell phone, which doesn't take very good pics, and I figured that other people would have the same idea, and Phylicia might be overwhelmed. So I ordered a t-shirt and a cd, and then got lost in DC trying to find my way back to the metro station, but made it home safe and sound.

Now, I have to admit, after a bit of discouragement, I thought about not going at all. Why? Because I didn't have anyone to come with me. I mean, I called people, texted people....and majority of them didn't even bother to give me a yes or a no answer back, which I thought was VERY rude. But I talked to a friend, and he advised me to screw everyone else and just go. (Maybe not in those *exact* words, but still) So I did. And I can't wait for next year.

I've never heard "HBCU" said SO MANY TIMES! Oh my word.

But other than the whole experience being so uplifting and made me think about some stuff as well: In a way, it made me think about how much I don't think about my culture, my past, history-wise. It's almost like, I'm ashamed of it or something. Many of my friends classify me as an "oreo" or being "whiter" than them, etc. And I laugh, but I guess I think that if I show pride in my culture/heritage or something, I'll be seen as being uber black or something.

I notice many times, when I am around other African Americans, and sometimes even my family...I hear things like "Yeah, you know the white folks, they don't want us to have anything." And sometimes, when the subject of who is dating whom comes up, the question is presented "Are they black or white?"

Even when I was in line at the KC, I was listening to a conversation about Obama, and how educated he is, and then it trailed off to slavery, and how African Americans made all these inventions to make life easier, and the white people took them and claimed them for their own.

I mean, I wasn't raised to be a racist, and I am not. But I don't think I was raised correctly enough to think about my history and its importance.

All I hear about is "the white man" and how bad white people are, and they can't be trusted, and slavery and stuff. And I understand slavery, and realize that it wasn't a good thing, still isn't, and I dislike anyone who decides it's alright to keep it going. But what about the good things? What about the contributions that African Americans have made to education, to the arts, to the world?

And I also thought about the audience that was there. Mainly African Americans. I saw some Caucasians there, but for some reason, it was like, I felt whatever they might have been feeling...out of place. Like they didn't belong. Which should NEVER be the case. Which is why I figured that's why, most of my "white" friends don't want to come to things like this. It's like, the word "black" scares them away or something. Which bothers me very much.

But all in all, the evening was wonderful.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
thats good you still went and it provided a good experience for you. yeah, I am no racist either. I always frown about sterotyping and racisim.
Sep. 9th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm really happy that I went. They have the performance archived on the Kennedy Center website, if you want to check it out!
Feb. 16th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )