So last night at the student union people were doing karaoke in the lounge. I haven’t “performed” in a while so I thought I should sign up. As I’m putting down my name and my song (New Slang by The Shins) the DJ tells me it’s a talent show sponsored by this sorority. I look around. It’s pretty much all black people. For a second I think, oh… um.. maybe I shouldn’t. But then I realized, I have absolutely no reason to feel uncomfortable about this. So I leave my name and sit and wait.
A few people go before me, reciting slam poetry and black power ballads, gospel music. Then I find out that the internet isn’t working so I have to sing a capella. Since I was already kind of on the fence about performing my first instinct is to retract my name. But other people are going to be singing without music. So I decide to stick with it again.
As I go up to perform, lights blind me. I can’t see the audience. It doesn’t even matter who’s out there, black or white. I say into the mic, “So, I think this will sound weird without background music. And I’m not great with rhythm. Could you guys do me a favor and clap along with the beat? Is that okay, can you do that?” I give a few claps and most join along. And I sang. And I felt great and empowered by this unity that I was so close to avoiding.
When I finish, the DJ says, “Come on guys. Talent has no color. She just came out and did her thing. Have some respect. Make some noise.” And they did. And I felt so happy to be around such wonderful, joyful people. And I felt so inspired by their talent and their tolerance.
So I just wanted to put that out there. Please try love and respect everyone!!