Bon weekend, mes amis…
Anyway, that’s how long I’ve given my endless devotion to Sir Chocolate himself, a.k.a. Blair Underwood. Oh and he’s 52. And doesn’t look a day over 35. Yep: totally Benjamin Buttoning it. And I don’t mind. That melanin though…
Scene: after a premiere that I’ve somehow been invited to, during a meet-and-greet.
Lupita: Hello, [Government Name]. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Thank you so much for your support.
Me: Your elegance, talent, and grace are inspiriring, Ms. Nyong’o.
Lupita: Oh, please call me Lupita. And thank you so much!
Now: what would actually happen in real life:
Lupita: Hello, [Government Name]. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Thank you so much for your supp–oh, dear. Someone call a paramedic. The poor woman has fainted.
The Real End.
Happy Monday, dear reader. Onwards and upwards…
(*Photo courtesy of Instagram*)
This is Daniel Sunjata. He’s an actor. This Wednesday is all his.
Many years ago, a friend of mine clipped his photo from a magazine and presented it to me, declaring that upon seeing his face, she just knew that said face would make me happy. She wasn’t wrong. At the time, I had no idea who he was. But I won’t comment on how long I kept that photo. Note that it was wallet-sized. We’ll move on.
You’ve seen him in The Devil Wears Prada, countless episodes of my beloved Law and Order, so on and so forth. He’s also a theater guy.
Be still. My beating heart.
I’m in love with Sherlock Holmes because of him. If you haven’t watched his incredible rendering of Sherlock…your reasons better be good. Like living in a cave and/or not owning a television good.
Here sits Benedict Cumberbatch: all those letters in his name, those eyes, that voice (go to YouTube and listen!)…
I saw him in real life in October of last year, having stumbled upon the premiere of Black Mass in Leicester Square during my first evening in London. I took about 70 pictures and at least two videos of him.
I’ll end there.
There are certain bold names that I associate with my Dad. Sidney Poitier. James Taylor.
The Beatles. Milton Berle and Lucille Ball. Aretha Franklin. I associate these people with Dad because growing up, his appreciation of their art and talent was long discussed in our household, and he never shied away from showing us kids visual (and audible) examples of why he thought they were so cool. And what I love about that, among other things, is that it opened the window to generations and people way before us. We fell in love with music, film, performers, etc., of another time and I really treasure that. One of those bold names I grew up hearing about was Muhammad Ali. I knew his bio from early childhood, it seemed. Before I saw his face, before I heard his voice. That he was Cassius Clay before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali, following the change in his religion. That he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. That he called himself The Greatest. That he fought this guy and that guy and won. And above all, that Muhammad Ali came to Ghana in 1964.
My father spoke so many times of Ali’s visit to Ghana in ’64 that I imagined I was there. Never mind that I was hardly a twinkle in anyone’s eye in 1964: my father was a swinging single then, and wouldn’t meet the lady who would bring me into this interesting world until 10 years later. But trust me that the man could invoke excitement from a story: how he saw Ali, how the crowds were going wild, etc. I would observe the grin on his face and his wide, luminous eyes, and wish, so much, that I could have been there to see this larger-than-life man that had whipped my Daddy into such a frenzy. Needless to say, watching his interviews and marveling at his bravado when I was older was always a treat. I knew this guy. We had been introduced so many, many times.
Hearing about his death on June 3 was so sad. I thought about his children, his wife. I thought about how that confident, cocky, and cool man became slower, less mobile, less vocal as he bravely dealt with the effects of Parkinson’s syndrome. I thought about the grief that comes from losing a man of stature, of such significance, especially in the family unit. So many parallels that hit close to home. I thought about those, too.
Ultimately, however, I’m glad I knew him. Even though I didn’t.
15 seconds of Queen Lupita twirling during her InStyle magazine shoot, as posted by her highness on her Instagram page. Take in all that African Girl Wonder. Breathe it in. And then find an empty office somewhere and do your own Friday twirl. Slow motion would even be better.
Bon weekend, dear readers.