I'll save my Rick Ross as a Prison Guard blog for later... For now there's something terribly serious I'd like to discuss. There's something truly disturbing about a Black person in White-face. And I'm not talking classic Eddie Murphy when he was white for a day on SNL. I'm talking rope yanking, trapped-in-glass, old fashioned pantomime. Yes, I'll admit the look was EXTREMELY cool in Dead Presidents. But two things need to be considered: A.) Those were cool, 1970's, oppressed, leather jacket-wearing, gun-toting, bank-robbing, soul glow Black people. and B.) It wasn't real. Not one single drop. It was a movie.
If you're a grown ass Black man (or woman), and you choose this as your life's work, I then I have to ask simply "what happened?" At what point during your blackness did you see someone pantomiming and say to your self, "Bingo!... I got it!"? I mean, where do you even go to study miming? Athens? Paris? Sure, Black people have been to France before, but not the ones doing it outside the Hollywood Max Museum, or in Times Square. Do you have to be certified? Are there a series of Belts and levels you attain like in Karate? Is there a written exam? Or is it your Grandma saying to herself "What in the world is wrong with this child?" as she watches her 9 year old grandson in the back yard practicing in full mime gear.
For so long, we were ridiculed by white actors in black face, black actors in black face, cartoonish caricatures, the Universal-Soul Circus, and Tommy the Clown. In the year 2009, on the dawn of socio-ethnic change, when we have a Black (half, at least) President, and a song like "Stanky Leg" can top the charts (I don't make this stuff up), I find it hard that an African American can choose pantomime as a profession. Sure, yes, you may say, "This man now has the opportunity to choose his own path!" And to that I say, "Wrong way, brotha!" It's ridiculous.
And dating must be difficult. At one point on a date do you reveal to your potential life mate that you're a mime? I don't think that really comes with a 5-year plan. You're date's all "well right now I work in Marketing, but I think I might try to do more with my floral design business." or "I'm in Law School, I just wanna help people." After she asks you the same question, you can only respond by silently pretending to eat your food that hasn't come yet, fake-sleeping, or breaking out in an unexpected game of charades.
Now, I might be a bit biased, I admit. I dislike all mimes and pretty much have always disliked them. I don't know why, or where that comes from. I do remember being scared of clowns as a young child, but I doubt if my feelings are that deeply rooted. However, in the end, I tolerated them. And some of it was cool during the break dance explosion in the mid eighties, and yes, I was partially exposed to the movement. But that came fully accessorized with Windmills, Ticking, Pop-Locking, the Moonwalk, and an occasional nut-grab. However, when I'm walking down Hollywood Blvd 20 years later, and see a mime, a black mime, who only specializes in Miming, and taking a break for crying out loud (so he's not even miming, he was just doing "normal" stuff!), I have to draw the line. Now that they've begun to turn Black, I feel the need to preserve the purity of the Mime Race. I really have no desire to see mimicked Rap performances, basketball, or failure to pay child support.
Still not convinced? Then maybe this will scare you straight. I'll leave you with the evolution of Black Miming... The African Mumenchantz (insert Evil Laugh)! Until next time, Peace and Hair Grease (topped by do-rag)