I posted this weekend; go back and read Preacher Man. Oh, and I'll just tell you upfront, you'll have to bear with me if you don't see me around or I'm posting late or all erratic for the next month. (This post will partially explain why.)
So, I think YouTube is one of the greatest developments of the 21st Century. Whenever I have those Saturdays that I don't want to leave the house, I search for random ish. One night it was old Jodeci videos, which led to watching all 90s videos, and somehow led to watching old school girl groups like Oaktown 357. "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" is a great, but pitifully overlooked song. A deejay could spin it now and still make a party pop (CEO that was a hint for you.) Another night it was random SATC clips, even though I own all the seasons on DVD. Last night, I was watching clips of Oprah’s Legends Ball.
If you didn't see it then and/or don't have time to watch (make time: it's good), it was all about Black female legends-in-the-making honoring Black female living legends. Somehow I’d missed the show when it aired on ABC, so I watched it in its entirety on YouTube (God bless whoever posted that.) It was fabulous, over the top, elegant as Oprah events tend to be. (Instead of gift bags, they received diamond earrings. What a great life!) But what really struck me was the feeling of it. Here are these great and amazing women, being honored by each other and paying tribute to those who came before them. Do you know what kind of ego boost it must be to be called a legend in your own lifetime? Or the purpose and pride you recieve to be considered one in the making? Wow. What a way to push people to be thier best! (Watch Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige's reactions. They were changed by the experience.) Oprah pointed out that her rationale for the whole thing was everyone shows up with flowers to pay respects when you die, but who honors you when you are alive?
I got to thinking about all those young women out there who are steadily achieving their dreams, but don’t get the recognition they deserve and too, that they need. I don’t think you should have to be on a Forbes list or be a nationally recognized name or a VP for a major corporation to be acknowledged. Someone should recognize them-- and not just in a blog or in conversatons that they never hear.
I thought back to this all-women dinner that Penelope and I did last year. We called it “A Gathering of Girls” and invited all of our fabulous friends to come and break bread with us. So often, women are thought of as catty and jealous of one another, but we don't know very many women like that. We wanted to have a time where a bunch of likeminded, happy girls could just come together and enjoy each other's company and meet new friends and enjoy being girls. Very few people just sit around and celebrate women of color for just being and even though it was a simple idea, we thought it would be fun to host an occassion that does so.
New York was hit with a monsoon the day of the event, but 20 women gathered on the tent covered patio of P and I's favorite restaurant, the since-closed Rialtos (RIP cocunut martinis). Now anytime P and I plan something, she is in charge of decoration and logistics. She won’t even tell me what’s going on with any of that, just assures me that everything is fine and it will be fabulous. She’s never let me down.
When I arrived, the table was covered with beautiful roses. She had our menu pre-printed. We had a black waitress who spoke French so every time she talked, it made the moment seem extra fab. (She told us later that she wasn’t even scheduled to work that day, but when she found out it was our event, she signed up. See what being nice –and tipping well—will get you?)It was gorgeous, more grand than anything I could have ever expected. And I wasn't the only one who was surprised. Midway through dinner, Shannon looked around and declared, “I feel like I’m at Oprah’s Legends Ball. We’re like legends to be!” (Oh, the warming of my heart in that moment.)
And so with all of that in mind, P & I have decided to host a Legends To Be Dinner next month so that fabulous women can gather to celebrate those among us who are doing amazing things. I’m so excited, I’m blushing three shades of pink, which is highly possible for a pale-skinned girl. :-)