Friday, August 07, 2009

Black Man Fridays - Geoffrey Holder

this is the way geoffrey holder and i met: as the "uncola" man in the 7up commercials from back in the day. he was 6'6 and stunning. so effortlessly elegant. so graceful. so fun! and that laugh!

it didn't start with godfrey, the latest pitch man -- or orlando jones from the 90s. it seems that the 7up folks have had a long history of hiring tall, dark and handsome black men to shill their sparkly soda, starting with geoffrey -- who was so popular, they brought him back in the 80s to do another series of commercials.

only later did i discover geoffrey holder the dancer, choreographer, actor, visual artist, singer, costume designer, voice over artist.

did i mention his exquisite wife dancer, choreographer and actress carmen de lavallade? she's actually creole, you know. that notorious negrophile carl van vechten took the first photo in 1955, the year that they were wed. the second photo is of mrs. holder in 1983 - at the age of 52.

Dance Photography

everyone would wax poetic over bill cosby and his wife camille and their love story, how he was a morehouse man and she finished at spelman and their children and so on. but none of that held any real allure for me. i was always drawn to geoffrey and carmen. they were so continental, so regal, and just so incredibly talented and dripping with elan and the special brand of joy that comes from doing what you love with the one you love. i knew as a child that the world they inhabited was filled with beautiful things because they were so beautiful. mr. and mrs. cosby seemed so conventional in comparison. and kind of lackluster, really. not that there's anything wrong with that. but these dancers -- wow. i felt it in my little girl soul: they were my kind of people.

here's a glimpse of a documentary about them, from first run pictures, so you can glimpse what i mean.

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