24th Jul2005

White Folks Can’t Win At The Apollo

by Will

“My name is Jack Bauer, and this is going to be the longest day of my life.”

Heh, my last post was post # 420, so I guess this is my “buzzed-baked afterglow post”. I guess you can tell I’ve never smoked before seeing as how I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.

So…sometimes, I really hate “It’s Showtime At The Apollo”. No, actually I ALWAYS hate “Apollo”. If you ever wanna see racism flipped on its ass, just watch the Apollo.

I feel like this is the rare sanctuary where Black folks are like, “Look, Whitey! WE call the shots here!” It is an institution dedicated to the essence of the BNIC (look it up, my confused friends; we’re not allowed to simply decode that acronym for just anybody!) And, while I guess it’s their prerogative, a LOT of talented people get booed offstage just because they’re White.

It’s a delicate situation ’cause there aren’t really any venues that are known as “White Theatres” (I swear if anyone responds with, “They’re ALL White theatres”, you’ll be sorry. Yeah, I’m looking at you.). In the meantime, the Apollo is known as a Black theatre. When you go perform, you kinda know what you’re getting yourself into. So, I think it’s brave for many people to just get up on the stage.

Here I am, at 1:35 on a Monday morning, watching this dreck. This hippie chick just performed the HELL out of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good”. I mean, she gave it everything she fucking had, and it was actually GOOD. But these people would NOT give her the credit she deserved.

Now, I’ve gotta admit that Apollo has made some major strides in the past 10 yrs. As the traditional companion show to “Soul Train”, it has had to change with the times. White participants are getting their due in the Harlem venue, but this hippie chick didn’t stand a chance. If you look like you might have some Spanish in ya, you’re golden. Italian? See “Spanish”. Jewish? Your hair’s curly, we’ll clap for ya. But hippie girl didn’t have a chance.

She had long, golden hair down to her ass. And it was the kind where it looked great, but you knew she probably didn’t have to do anything to maintain it. This was accented by her velvet halter top and her tight, straight-legged jeans that many an audience member would never wear in her wildest dreams. I guess you could say they just didn’t relate to her.

But she sure kicked Chaka Khan’s ass. She sang the fuck out of that song. And I’m a tough critic. Hell, I wasn’t even paying attention when she sang. I was reading, and had the thing on in the background. All I could really hear was her singing, and them trying to boo her off. It wasn’t until she finished that I actually looked up and thought, “THAT was HER?”

Well, I’ve just gotta say that she was awesome, and it sucks that she didn’t get what she was looking for. Or, maybe she did. The Apollo ain’t like “American Idol”. Nobody’s really trying to be discovered. That would be NICE, but it’s not always the goal, nor is your performance a predictor. After all, back in the day, Lauryn Hill was booed off her Apollo “Amateur Night” performance and cried like a little bitch backstage. But last I heard, she was doing OK. A little crazy and kind of a recluse, but “OK” by celebrity standards…For some people, surviving the Apollo is akin to conquering a fear or fulfilling a promise. Hippie chick fought hard enough to finish her song without being ejected, so maybe that was what it was all about. I guess I’ll never know. But she sure sang the hell out of that song…