I went to see The Vagina Monologues last night and was surprisingly impressed by the performances. I had seen VM before in Chicago and loved it, but that was so long ago that it was really nice to see it again especially in light of all the pimp madness in the air. I decided to take my girl Aissata along since she is like the only woman I know who hasn't seen Eve Ensler's really provocative production. And since her line of T-shirts are called The Unapologetic Woman, it all just made sense. Anyway we get there and Muhammida, cool publicist w/ all the connects was right there with our tix in hand (thanks grrrl!). As soon as we walked in the door Ai hit the bar and got us some cocktails so we could calm down after having our own lil' dramas on 1-2-5. Why folks have to be so hostile for no reason. Well that’s another story. Anyway here’s the skinny:
Zoe Saldana was fantastic! Her comedic timing and her dramatic pauses were crazy on point and made her monologue reading so fricking inescapably moving. I was shocked! I’ve never seen her act before. I know she was in Guess Who, but Lord knows that was no motivation for me to check her out, but you best believe I will now. She’s not just another light skin Hollywood honey trying to get over on her looks. She’s really talented and I’m telling all y’all to look out. She’s the next big thing, not this Joy Bryant chick that I see everywhere. I still don’t get that.
I went there expecting nothing but a superb performance from Kerry Washington, who I thought nailed it as Ray Charles’ wife, and she delivered all that and more. She is so damn poised and sophisticated in her stance that you can’t help but focus completely on her when she is speaking. But what was kinda surprising was when she let loose on the dance tip like when Nina Skye performed (they were actually tight. I’ve seen them before and wasn’t impressed but even though they performed one too many songs they did their thing). Kerry was up on stage dancing like she was at some Ubiquita joint and encouraging everyone to get out their seats to do the same. Very cool moment!
Natalie from Floetry was the only sister who performed without a script in hand. Not only did she have everything memorized, but damn I think she may have been the most memorable. I was shocked at her ease and natural skill, but then Ai reminded me that she’s a poet who’s been doing this, albeit in a somewhat different medium, for years and so this ain’t nothing for her. And so when Natalie’s monologue talked about a girl whose cootchie snorcher had been violated and became this place associated with such trauma and pain and how it was another much older woman who taught her to love her cootchie you almost forgot that she’s really a Floacist and not an abused teenage girl looking for love.
There were 3 musical performances-- Nina, Miri Ben Ari and some grrrl named Crisette Michelle that I’ve never heard of, but who is apparently signed to Island/ Def Jam and who LA Reid and Jay-Z think is a supastar. Of course hearing that before homegirl even utters one note made me doubtful and distracted. But after she sang like 1.5 bars my mouth was wide open and I was sitting on the edge of my seat. At first her voice seemed contrived and affected. Maybe she was nervous and trying too hard, but by the end of her number I was on my feet as was the entire Apollo audience. Look out and listen up for this girl. Distinct, full-figured and wholesomely real like Jill Scott. Actually she’s a cross between Jill, Karen Clarke Sheard and Alicia Keys with a smidgin’ of Nancy Wilson. She’s fresh like summer peaches, yo!
Those are the highlights. The after-party reception was cool. Saw Michaela, Angie from Regis & Kelly and Eric from Uptown (damn I forgot to ask how he felt as a dude in the midst of all this vaginaing). Was deep in convo sipping on free Belvedere and missed my opportunity to talk to Kerry and Zoe, but I did holla at Jacque Reid who I think is either being managed or represented by Kim Cooper formerly of The Source. She adamantly told me she had no desire to write ever again after I asked her to contribute something to theHotness and did not even want to continue discussing the matter with me. Point blank our talk was over. Basically she was just about me interviewing her girl and nada mas. I guess urban journalism done killed another flower. That’s something I think I’m going to have to post about. But another day. Later lads..thg