Friday, May 1, 2009

Ashanti Is Trying To Take My Black Card

I don't claim to have endured the "tragic mulatto" childhood that Mariah Carey so pathetically cries about (while drying her tears with diamonds), but I will say that being of mixed race gave my parents an awful lot of excuses to go above and beyond in explaining cultural differences. But only in really odd shallow ways. My father was ecstatic once my sister and I learned to exclaim "Dad!" with fervor, so as to disprove all the New York passersby's assumptions (inferred with evil stares) that his dark-skinned self was not, in fact, kidnapping us, as we were of a considerably lighter shade. Our color came in increments, and once he felt we had acquired enough tan, he began with the pseudo-schooling. First, the only song he encouraged us to learn on our brand new Christmas-gift Casio keyboards was Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," because, you know, it was about brotherhood and stuff. And he did his very best to remember to light candles for Kwanzaa, but my sister and I successfully trivialized that holiday into being one about saying "Kujichagulia" a lot and giggling afterwards. And who needs Cornflower-, Thistle-, and Periwinkle-colored crayons when all you've got are Color Me Brown books? Not I. But, if nothing else, I can say with conviction that out of this bombardment of blackness came my exposure to one of the best damn movies of all time: The Wiz. Because, no - as taught - the original was not iconic enough!

But now I hear Ashanti is reprising the role of Dorothy. On stage, nonetheless. A role previously owned by Stephanie Mills and Diana Ross (seen above). This bothers me. Pops would be so proud to see how worldly I've become per his instruction. And I feel Ashanti is trying to revoke me of my well-deserved certificate of culture by maybepossiblydefinitely ruining a truly significant sliver of my childhood. After all, something tells me she won't be able to pull it off.

Until then, a completely unrelated scene (YouTube is slacking):

1 comment:

plentymorefishoutofwater said...

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