So I had a show night before last in Lake of the Ozarks, MO. I was about an hour early for the show because I had the showtime wrong so I was hanging out in the back of the showroom and besides the staff there was only one other person there — a lady sitting at the next booth over. I was playing around with my Blackberry when she started talking to me.

LADY: Are you here for the show tonite?

ME: Yes I am.

LADY: Well then get up there on that stage and dance for me. I need to be entertained while I’m waiting.

Ummmmm… WHAT?!?!?

Dance? A little soft shoe, perhaps?!?!?

There was no indication that I was part of the show. And there was no hint of a smile or a joke on her face. She didn’t blink. She was dead serious. And I was livid. I gave her the big eyes and said, “Oh there will be no dancing” and then continued doing what I was doing. But after a minute or two I was so heated I had to get up and move myself over to the bar. I really wanted to hit her — not like in an imaginary dream sequence, but in living color. I was trying to figure out if there was another way I could take that, without jumping right to the fact that it was the most racist thing I’ve heard in years. But I couldn’t come up with anything.

I  was sooooo angry and I wanted to address it on stage, but since no one else had witnessed it, I knew I was just gonna ruin the show for the headliner and the other 99% of the audience. The show ended up going really well for me but I still kinda felt like a punk for not getting at her. On my way back to the hotel I called my Dad, and he basically just told me to take my money and let it go. He’s had to deal with tons of racist comments being one of just a handful of black folks that worked at his company for 30+ years. And I know he was right. My job is to give a good show and get invited back. Releasing that venom definitely would have made me feel better, but it probably would have ensured that I’d never play the venue again.

I’m a bit of a hot head, and learning to pick my battles is a difficult thing for me, but when things like this happen I guess they’re just an opportunity for growth.


2 thoughts on “I will put my soft shoe up in yo’ …

  1. debkatz

    I’m so sorry that this happened. Cruel people abound; it’s how we deal with them that sets us apart. My father, being Jewish, saw his fair share of prejudice and hatred. We grew up being told to be the “bigger person”…but it didn’t stop my bro and I from wanting to punch asshats and I think it fueled our humor. I admire your restraint…and I understand your resentment. Love your perspective and work. Deborah Katz
    .-= debkatz´s last blog ..debkatz- I cant believe my kids dont twitter If my mom tweeted- Id bewaitewwww =-.

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