Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Simply Lola: More Than Meets The Eye
When I was living in Atlanta I had the pleasure to meet great poet Maya Angelou. I was visiting my aunt, who is a makeup artist for Chanel at Saks Fifth Ave. I needed my make up done for a gig I was singing at later that night. While I was sitting in my aunt’s chair I heard Ms. Angelou voice saying to me “Oh my, your smile is as pretty as the sunrise in Ghana". Shocked and nervous to be in the presence of such a great woman, I struggled to say the words “thank you”. She was waiting for another woman, who I think was her niece and sat in a makeup chair across from me. My hands were shaking and all train of thought went out the door. As calm and relaxed as she could be she asked me my name. I said Lola, she said that must be a family name, and she was right. I responded by saying “yes", I am named after my grandmother. I told her the reason for having my makeup done was because I would be singing later that night at a night club downtown Atlanta. With excitement she said oh you’re a singer and I replied yes. She insisted I sing for her. I was thrilled when I sang a little piece of the jazz song “Summertime”. The younger woman with her had made her purchase and was ready to leave the store. As Maya Angelou got up leaving the high end department store she leaned over and whispered saying Ms. Lola I have a feeling you’re a whole lot more than a night club singer and as soon as you allow life to become your living map, you’ll soon discover the many, many other gifts God has blessed you with my child. Still nervous and still only able to utter the words thank you, I quickly called my mom and told her who I had just met. Since that day I have often wondered just what she meant about life being my map and curious about other gifts I would discover.
In college I majored in theater. I was so board with music theory I felt if I was going graduate from college I should major in something that would keep my attention and so I did. Although I was a theater major I only considered myself as a singer . Learning the theory and technique of acting I knew it would help me become a better performer on stage while singing but I just never really thought of myself as an actor, until last weekend. It was the premier of my first play since college “Wrecked But Not Totaled”. For several months I have been preparing to play a very interesting character by the name of Lataquniesha (lord she was a hot mess). When I auditioned for the play I audition for the wife (Bridget) and when the director called and told me that she was casting me as this ghetto fabulous, inappropriate, foolish sista girl character Lataquniesha I was very disappointed. After weeks and weeks of rehearsal, and countless nights of watching Martin Lawrence portray Sha Naynay, and Jamie Fox portray Wanda on “In Living Color” I started to become more comfortable with my part in the play. Opening night of the show it was time to see just how well I could convince my friends, family, and strangers that I was Lataquneisha. I told myself that night I had nothing to lose and everything to gain there was no holding back. Well I played my part and at the end of the show I received a standing ovation from friends, family and I whole lot of strangers. I found it very funny for people to ask for my autograph, unsure of its worth I signed away. The show ran for three days and with each day I got better. The last night of the show while taking a bow with my cast mates I heard the words of Maya Angelou, thinking of the day I was sitting in Saks Fifth Avenue, and realized that I was now allowing life to be my map and she was right God had blessed me with more than just a gift of song.
Often times we define ourselves by our surroundings, not willing to explore outside of our comfort zone. We become comfortable with being just a wife, husband, mother, father, teacher, athlete, and jobs we do day to day. I believe we are all more than what the eye can see. If we would have enough faith and allow life to become our map, we’ll be amazed at the many different gifts God has blessed us with. To my friend reading this, I encourage you to stop holding yourself back and explore all that you are.
Til Next Time