With my “Three Favorites Things or People” segment, I dig deep to find those things that stir my soul and those people who make me feel, deeply, sometimes causing tears to fall from my eyes, by sharing their truths, or by making me feel so inspired that I feel like I can take on the world!
This February 2019, I found it in a play. I experienced it while watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. And I shimmered with inspiration at every glance of a picture below.
The play was Witness Uganda at the Wallis Annenberg Theater, Beverly Hills, California, and I was spell-bound by its dancers, its musical ensembles, led by soulful R & B icon Ledisi, its foot-stomping music, and the bodies, shapes, and sounds that brought Uganda to the lovely Lovelace Studio Theater at the Annenberg. As the brown, thick thighs of some of the dancers, stomped right in front of me, I felt comfort in my own 5’9 large frame, rarely felt in Beverly Hills, a place obsessed with model thin sizes and shapes.
The story is about a gay man who, after being called out at his New York church, decides to take a trip to Uganda to build a school and change the world. But, once there, he learns that the negative forces of homophobia follow him, and he comes to understand the difficulty and complexity of changing lives in a culture pinned down by poverty and corruption.
The performance touched my soul so because I started writing after a series of long conversations with my BFF from high school, a tall, handsome, flamboyant gay male, who was wrestling with living in Los Angeles among friends who were living double lives and afraid to come out. Shortly, after our marathon conversations, I moved to Europe, and when I returned, my friend passed from aids. In my first two novels, the women are married to men who will not accept that they’re gay.
I felt my BFF’s spirit in the Lovelace theater as Griffen, the protagonist in Witness Uganda, played wonderfully by Jamar Williams, tried so hard to make peace with himself and the injustices and disparities that he found on both sides of the globe.
The performance is so wonderful, the singing so rapturous, and the music so delightful, that it’s being held over until March 3rd.
You can get ticket information here:
Information: (310) 746-4000 or TheWallis.org/Witness
The television show that inspired me was Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday during which she talked to Joe Biden with the ease of a warm summer breeze. There was a calmness and stillness between them, a real desire to see our country turn around, which stirred my soul and covered me with a blanket of peace.
The way Joe Biden looked down at the ground during much of the interview, almost as if he was in prayer, exemplified such humbleness, in a time when everyone is trying way too hard to be the best next thing.
It was obvious that they both understand what a dark place we’re in in the United States and they’re both doing their part to find solutions for our nation.
I appreciated Joe Biden saying that the rapture began when white Republicans decided that they wouldn’t work with the first African American President of the United States. This act pulled off the scab of deeply held racist beliefs, which needed to be exposed to the light, so that Americans can have hard conversations to heal our race and class divisions. And I have faith that we will heal our nation.
Their conversation was a soothing hour-long prayer, especially with the Former Vice President’s head bowed so often as he talked about losing his son, Beau. It reminded me of the great Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said:
“We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the pressing urgencies of the great cause of freedom a time like this demands great leaders.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Joe Biden and Oprah Winfrey represent those type of leaders. And although they sat in chairs as they talked on Super Soul Sunday, I envisioned them both kneeling as Martin Luther King, Jr. did in the picture below: And this brings me to my third favorite thing for the month of February. The beautiful picture below.
Happy African American History Month!