Tag Archives celebrities

Seeing Broadway’s First Black Cinderella

Cinderella on Broadway Shop Tees | The Girl Next Door is BlackWhen I heard of Keke Palmer’s casting as the first black Cinderella on Broadway, I didn’t imagine I’d end up seeing the show in person!

It was a girls night out: sisters and groups of friends; an adorable Girl Scout troop of mostly pre-tween and tween black girls and quite a few mother/daughter pairings attended. One little girl dressed like a little lady wearing pearls and donning an updo, accompanied by her very chic and sophisticated mother who wore an enviable black cape, melted my heart. I attend a lot of plays and as I snarked to my sister, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many black people at a play in my life” [Chitlin’ circuit excluded]. I’m so used to being one of few. Even when I saw Porgy and Bess recently, whose cast is majority black, my friend and I were two of a countable number of black people in attendance. I found the audience diversity refreshing.

Keke Palmer delighted as Cinderella. To think that she’s only 21 and has already accomplished so much in her life. Her talent seems boundless.

Sherri Shepherd starred as Cinderella’s mean stepmother. I have had mixed feelings for Sherri in the past. I attended the same acting school she did, years after she moved on, and as one of the school’s success stories, Sherri was often a topic of conversation. It was her stint on The View that soured me though (“I don’t know if the earth is flat” anyone?). I wasn’t sure what to expect from her performance. I’m happy to share that she played the hell out of her character – a hilariously wicked stepmother. I enjoyed ever minute she spent onstage.

The show itself was wonderfully produced, surprisingly funny, and even magical at times. They pulled off the fastest, most seamless costume changes I’ve ever witnessed. After the show, I hustled my sister to the side stage door to wait for the cast to come out and sign autographs.

Both Keke and Sherri braved the chill to take photos with and sign autographs for each and every fan waiting. Impressively, Sherri listened patiently as one fan tried to promote her singing talent to Sherri. Even though the woman had no demo, no videos of her performing or even business cards, Sherri gave her helpful tips for building a foundation for a singing career – even though as she said, “I can’t really do anything for you. I don’t have those connections.” That really endeared her to me.

After our successful celebrity encounters, we headed to Junior’s for a late post-show dinner and to relive our fantastic evening over cheesecake.

With Keke Palmer After Broadway Show | The Girl Next Door is Black
Keke is the sweetest. She told my sister (who is around the same age, has loved her since ‘True Jackson, VP’ and thinks of her as her “best friend in her head”) that she loved her lipstick and asked her where she got it. Then she told us we were “beautiful girls.” Aw, Keke.
Meeting Sherri Shepherd on Broadway | The Girl Next Door is Black
Sherri is so kind and patient with the crowd. She looked much slimmer too; whatever she’s doing is working for her!

 

I Don’t Pop Molly

Note: If Google brought you here, see the definition of the song hook lyrics at the bottom of the post.

“I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford.”

– Jay-Z, “Tom Ford, 2013

Photo cr: epSos .de, flickr.com
Photo cr: epSos.de, flickr.com

If you listen to hip-hop these days, you’ve no doubt heard all the references to molly (basically ecstasy): “I Can’t Seem to Find Molly“, “Popped a molly, I’m sweatin‘” or maybe you’re even listening to Miley “cultural appropriation” Cyrus’ latest song. She sings about poppin’ mollies in “We Can’t Stop“. [She told producers she wanted “something that sounds black.” Girl, get your life! I give major side-eye to people who reduce blackness to the sliver of sub-culture of which they are aware. You need to diversify your black exposure. 13 million black Americans aren’t all the same. It’s like if Rihanna said she wants a “white” sound for her next album and had bagpipers all up in her video. Have a seat with your pancake booty that has no business twerking.]

My sister asked me to go with her to an album release party for Big Sean‘s album release party earlier this month. We arrived just in time to see him being hustled from his outdoor stage into Brooklyn Circus to sign CDs. The crowd was large, super hype and pushing and shoving trying to sneak in behind him. The bodyguards weren’t having it. It was a disorganized mess. No one seemed to know how we were supposed to get into the signing. Some people had wristbands, others didn’t. If there are two things I can’t stand: crowds & chaos. As the crowd started to form a line, I overheard this exchange between a girl who appeared to be in her early 20s and two older teenagers:

Girl: “Y’all want some pills?”

Boy 1: “You got mollies?”

Girl: “No, but I got those Obamas and McDonalds.”

Disappointed, the boys shook their heads no.

What the…?

Obamas?! My sister joked, ‘That must be some Presidential-grade shit!”

I looked at my sister, pleading with my eyes to leave. This isn’t my crowd. I don’t pop mollies, Obama or McDonald’s. I am not here for that business. I’m too old for this shit. We didn’t get to see Big Sean perform, but we did see him. I didn’t need an up close and personal experience.

My sister declared, “This.is.ratchet! Let’s go!”

Thank goodness.

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Definitions (since more than a few people land here after searching for the meaning of the song hook):

(to) Pop = (to) take, ingest

molly = a drug, MDMA, makes people feel good. Drugs are bad, kids.

(to) Rock = (to) wear well

Tom Ford = fashion designer