Friday, April 25, 2003

I Blame It All on That White Girl written by Toya

America (now I sound like Bernie Mac), I must admit to something: I have an inner white girl named Chrissy. I’ll describe her to you: Chrissy likes pink glitter, skater boys, indie bands, and Jem; Power Ballads, fun rubber bracelets, and let's out a big high pitched "Oh My Gosh, Yeah!" when excited about the slightest little, yummy fun thing. After crying my eyes out as a kid because I was constantly called “Oreo” and “White Girl” it has taken me almost 20 years to acknowledge her and just as long to suppress her. Those that know me are probably wondering what took me so long to admit this and that the unfortunate incident at the Rick Springfield concert should have been a dead giveaway to me. For those that have not already heard this story (and for those that have and still get a big kick out of it), let's begin:

I have loved Rick Springfield since the third grade. His jet-black hair and dreamy eyes just wowed me from the moment I saw him play Doctor Noah on General Hospital. You could not tell me that he was not the finest man alive. Now we can argue that he is not one of the finer actors of our day, but fine he is. Well one day, my friend who works for him got me tickets and before long, me and my road dog Tia were road tripping it to St. Louis to see him. For clarification purposes, I did not travel that far just to see Rick Springfield, per se. I am extremely geographically challenge and thought that St. Louis was 3 hours away. That mess is FIVE hours away. Well, the next time I travel that long for any concert, it will be New Edition’s last concert WITH Bobby Brown or Journey WITH Steve Perry.

As always upon arrival, Tia and I start playing the “Count the Black People” game.

Me: “Ooh look a black girl”
Tia: “Where?”
Me: “Over by the steps”
Tia: “Uh no. She’s got letters on her shirt, Toya. She works here.”

We managed to count two other black girls in the audience and took our seats in the balcony with the industry types. At first I regretted sitting way up there but soon realized that by being so far from the stage, I had less of a chance of acting a fool. Well soon after a local opening act performed, there he was. Rick Springfield. And the “Chrissy” in me went crazy. “It’s him, it’s him!” I yelled over and over. My dream had come true. He went into “Affair of the Heart” and we sang right along with every word.

Now let’s talk about Rick. He came off highly cynical and somewhat bitter. Wouldn’t you be? Look at it from this perspective: He and Sting came out around the same time. Sting is respected as an artist worldwide and is constantly reinventing himself. Rick Springfield however, is an 80’s leftover. Think Corey Hart and Kajagoogoo. When people come to see him they don’t care that he has been toiling away in the studio working on new material. Oh no. We want the hits! We want Jessie’s Girl and Don’t Talk to Strangers. Don’t bore us with trying to be an artist. Take your shirt off and pose for us just like you did in Tiger Beat circa 1983. It’s harsh but it’s reality. After complaining about the bottled water the show promoter provided him with and giving the finger to the sound man, Rick put on one of those portable microphone headset thingys and made his way through the crowd. Rick seemed really jaded about playing for a crowd of mostly women in their mid-40’s. Some of them went as far as wearing shirts saying “Jessie’s Girl” and were pawing all over him. Tia and I were clowning them from the balcony, yelling “Hey! That’s somebody’s husband! He has a ring on! Show some decency!”

Unexpectedly, Rick pointed to the balcony and said “I’m coming up there”. I LOST IT. He started coming up the steps and I am running and pushing through people. I stopped and realized that Tia wasn’t behind me and I panicked. She had to be there. I couldn’t experience this by myself. When I turned around to see how close he was, he was about 25 feet away from me. I gasped when I finally got a good look at him. Yall, Rick is old. At the time, I didn’t know how old he was and later found out that he is 10 days younger than my dad who is turning 54 this year. From the neck up, Rick looks like he is about 1000 years old. However from the neck down, he’s about 25. I was horrified yet at the same time impressed.

Once again, I turned around for Tia who was frantically beckoning for me to come back to my seat. Tia is much taller than I and could see that he was making his way to our row. I pushed myself through the crowd, hopped over a railing and shamefully back kicked a man in the shin to get back to my seat. Huffing and puffing I ran to Tia, who put her hands on my shoulders, spun me around and Rick and I were finally face to face singing Human Touch. CRAZY!!!!!!

I usually pride myself by acting nonaffected by meeting people I admire so what happened next shocked the mess out of me because I have yet to find where it came from. Tia testifies that she noticed a glaze in my eyes as the realization hit me that I may never get a chance to be this close to Rick Springfield again. According to her, my face read “Rick Springfield just walked by me. He just walked by me. I…must… do something! I must!” And then in a moment of temporary unbridled insanity, after clowning all of those desperate women who ripped his shirt off and squeezed his buttocks, I, Toya (or should I say Chrissy), ran up and tried to jump on Rick Springfield’s back (You know, now that I see this in writing I am even more embarrassed). This didn’t happened in 1982 but 2002. What made it worse was that we were in the front row in the balcony and the spotlight was on us! Picture watching a Rick Springfield concert and out of the blue a short black woman with an afro runs out of nowhere and mauls Rick Springfield. The horror. Tia, not ever one to be left out, slowly reached out and poked him in his side with her finger (“Well I wanted to touch him too!”). Thus once again proving to be more self contained than I. The conviction of jumping a married man quickly set in and I felt so guilty. Tia could see it all over my face. I sat and repented over and over and over again.

I take no responsibility for this: I blame it all on Chrissy. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must leave to purchase my tickets to go see Def Leppard next weekend.

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