i got seen for a comedy central promo on friday. i didn't know exactly what that meant -- promo. i'm thinking, it's kinda like a commercial, right? no matter what it actually is, the audition will feel like a commercial one: i'll say the lines, they'll give me direction, i'll readjust -- but not too big -- and then maybe more direction, more readjustment, a thank you and i'm out. it's a routine that hardly ever changes with camerawork. no matter. i'm ready.
they said casual business attire. i wore a button front denim dress because i didn't have any cash money to run out and buy something to wear for the moment, like i usually did when all of my clothes were dirty. why didn't i have any clean clothes? because the elevator in my building is being upgraded and i didn't feel like hauling three large loads in a rickety cart up and down three flights of stairs. that's why. i waited until everything was dirty and it still wasn't fixed. oh, well.
which wig did i wear in my arsenal? did i do something extra-fancy with my natural hair? what about those cornrows? frankly, i didn't have the energy to bother. i decided to wow them with something really spectacular: my self. i came to this decision in part because of a conversation i had with my father, wherein i told him i got the prego commercial and that it was running but he probably wouldn't recognize me because i had that wig on (come on, you know the one) and then he told me that the reason why i got the prego commercial was because the wig made me look like a lady. then he said a lot of other stuff. like how he was kidding, and how i was supposed to be intelligent enough to know when he was joking. so i told him that i was completely daft but i knew enough to know that people say what they really mean when they're kidding around. and that was his passive-aggressive way of telling me what he thought of my hair. and why did i go for years wearing wigs to auditions and getting nothing. and yeah, he could give my mother the phone back now, and he's like, no, let's talk. and i'm like, i don't have anything to say to you. and that's when we were off to the races.
so when they called me in, i thought, you know what? i don't have the energy, the wherewithal, the time or the inclination to try to figure out what these executive corporate white people -- or my stubborn father, for that matter -- want me to look like as a black woman. they all think they know me, they all think they've got me figured out, and none of them do. especially my daddy. i mean, i've had it.
don't get me wrong. i'll work harder than anyone. i'll readjust. i'll wear a wig. why not? i like wigs. but this -- telling me in no uncertain terms that i'm patently unattractive because i don't straighten my hair -- this is over the top. the world tells me this every day but i don't listen. it shouldn't be a struggle to know that what i am is enough and to live that out in the ordinary moments of my world.
i know what you're thinking: it's just hair! but you know what? it's not. not when you're black and female.
so i showed up at liz lewis casting on time with a tight afro wearing a denim dress and some boots, took my polaroid smiling like mona lisa, and sat amongst gleamingly permed hair-dos and office casual outfits straight out of central casting until my name was called. i remember something about jack link. i remember having them pitch different office scenarios at me. i remember some white guy talking like mr. t at me, and me having to react to that, and everyone in the room laughing at what i did. wierd.
and then the next thing i knew, i was back on the sidewalk making my way through the breezy sunshiny streets, wondering what happened and somehow knowing exactly what happened. telling myself i didn't care -- and meaning it. i've always got way bigger catfish to skin and fry. it won't be the beginning of the world if i get it. it won't be the end of the world if i don't. but i would like to get it, just to leave my hair the way it is and in so doing, to silence my father -- if that's possible. and it isn't.