The Clubdate Singer Speaks: Chapter 4

Disclaimer: The following story is an actual event, as all of the vignettes in the 'Clubdate Singer Speaks' series are. For 8 years, I was a member of one of the top Orchestras in the nation. Though it was an enjoyable time, it was also at times, quite painful. I took to writing initially to assuage my distress, and this is one of those times when the pen (or keyboard) proved to be a healing tool. I have considered publishing this series, and would appreciate your thoughts...

“Rosa Parks” - Summer 2003


The first time that I was told to use the back door to get into a Clubdate, I was devastated.

I kept trying to convince myself that it had nothing to do with my color, and it probably didn’t. BUT, it still made my stomach knot up.
Come to think of it, it’s not a color thing, more a class thing. I know because I had to enter Whoopie Goldberg’s house through the side door too.
The reality is this, on a Clubdate you see the essence of classism at work, it is the nature of the beast. The servers and the served,with the band in some kind of no man’s land in-between. The staff is usually darker of hue than the patrons, and for a 60’s kid like me, it’s especially difficult. But such is life, and Dr. King’s dream is still just that.  
I have been doing this for nearly 5 years, and have only done 3 black weddings. (Actually 2, and 2 weddings where ½ of the couple was black,) It could be argued that the cost is prohibitive. I would agree, but rarely do I even see black guests, and THAT has nothing to do with how much you want to spend for your wedding…
But I digress.  Again. I seem to do that a lot…

It is interesting to me that whenever I walk into one of these venues, invariably it is assumed that I am either in the band or on the wait staff. Once inside, a guest will walk over to me and ask directions, even when I’m a guest myself. Case in point:
I was at a friend’s wedding one night, and his besotted mother in law walked up to me and said: “You guys were great!” I said, “Thanks, but I’m not in the band.” I found this particularly insulting because there was no-one in the band that looked remotely like me. Which means that all she saw were black men in black suits, their features, indistinguishable. This cannot be blamed entirely on the alcohol either.
I fight with this, but it is the reality, and it is bigger than I.

Comments

Anonymous said…
or perhaps it is that reality has become smaller...or scarier still, in many ways it's remained the same

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