When my friend asked if I’d go with her to the Treasure Island Music Festival, I surprised myself when I said, “Yes.” After my one and only experience at the Coachella Music Festival a few years ago, I all but swore off large-scale music festivals. Between the heat, the parades of douchery, the posers (people who literally seem as though they are just there to pose), the flower headbands, the Native headdresses on non-Natives, the spilled beer, sloppy drunken fools, the long lines to get just about anything and my general dislike of unruly crowds, I must have temporarily lost my memory to agree to this. Of course, it didn’t hurt that my friend’s face lit up as she gushed about how much she loves André 3000 of Outkast, one of the headliners of the two-day concert.
“If you having a good time, I want you to say, ‘Hell yeah, niggaaaaaaaaaa!”
“Hell yeah, niggaaaaaaaaaa!” the crowd screamed back at Lil Wayne.
I scanned the stadium of concert goers: a sea of young, white and light faces surrounded me, bopping their heads to the beat, hip-hop hands swaying in the air, phone cameras recording and repeating at Lil Wayne’s command,
Helllllll yeah, niggaaaaaaaaa!!
I looked over at my friend, who, like me, hadn’t joined the crowd.
You know the film/TV trope of the ugly duckling? Usually she’s got braces or other distracting face gear, as well as a hot mess of a hair situation (easily remedied by a brush and hair products) and topping off her tragic look: hideous, over-sized glasses. She’s a nerd; an outcast. Boys ignore her. Girls make fun of her. People pin “kick me” signs on her. One day, fed up with being a social misfit, she decides it’s time for a change.
Back in June, I headed to Sedona, Arizona with two of my friends from Los Angeles for a girls’ weekend. The first time our trio traveled together, we spent a whirlwind 10 days in Brazil in 2010. We were overdue for a reunion trip. On the agenda: sun, no worries and making memories. Arizona in June? You crazy? The weather actually wasn’t too bad – hot, but not unbearably so. I feel sun-starved in San Francisco sometimes, so I soak up opportunities in the sun like a cat lazing in a bay window.
When I created this blog, I never expected to write about race & ethnicity as much as I have. But like I say in my blog summary, being a black person in America, my “race” has an undeniable impact on my life. I’m not going to wake up one magical morning and discover that I can hide my blackness when I walk out in the world. Cloak myself in a different skin color, so I can experience what it’s like to walk through this world free from all the invisible pressures of the expectations of blackness.
An ex-boyfriend of mine loved fantasy sports. He had fantasy teams for baseball, hockey, basketball and football. Almost year round, he dedicated a not insignificant portion of his focus to tending to his fantasy team(s), football especially. Initially I found his fantasy hobby curious and amusing. So, this is what some of the male species spends their time doing? Fascinating. He’d get so passionate watching a football game – though I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t seem to root for one team consistently. “I don’t really have a favorite team. I just need my players to score me points!” Uh, ok.
Circumstances forced me into a relationship with Comcast when I moved here. In Los Angeles, I’d been a loyal DirecTV customer for years. Unfortunately, when I tried to transfer service and have a dish installed in my new place, the DirecTV installer shared his dreadful assessment, “San Francisco sucks for satellite! The building behind you is blocking the signal. Can’t hook you up.” Then he told me I should move back to L.A. because he hates San Francisco. Uh…thanks for the welcome, homie!