Monday, June 13, 2011

My Tony Awards Acceptance Speech

Oh my God, you guys. I seriously cannot believe I'm up here right now.

I remember back in third grade when my class put on a production of the Nigerian folktale "It's All the Fault of Adam" and I was the only African washerwoman not to be given a speaking role, I almost gave up before my career even had a chance to blossom. But instead I held my turban high and looked out at the crowd as I scrubbed my invisible soiled linens, and thought, Someday, I will fucking own you. And here I am.

I know I'm not the best actress in this room, or even, probably, in any room that has more than five people in it. I know I'm not the best singer, either, and that I like to drunkenly claim that "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston is "my" karaoke song, even though if I'm honest with myself I really don't have the range for it. I may not have a dancer's legs, poise, or even basic coordination, but I try, god dammit. My junior year at Wesleyan--which some of you may know as the school with the naked co-ed dorms and humanities class in pornography--I took part in a modern dance piece set to the music of the Kronos Quartet. I wore a mesh top and orange underwear that showed through my dance pants. The underwear part was a mistake, but everyone later agreed that the performance was a tour de force, especially the six-minute segment where I pretended to be inside a tiny box. No one could believe I never studied mime.

That summer, my best friend Anna and I staged an alternative sketch comedy show at Collective Unconscious, a charming blackbox theater on Ludlow Street. In one bit, Anna pretended to be Edgar Allen Poe doing a commercial for syphillis medication. In another, we performed an interpretive dance to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" using vegetables as props. Everyone applauded, but even then I knew that no one understood my art.

Until now.

I have to tell you, one of the sweetest things about this victory is beating out January Jones as Estragon in T-Pain's musical revival of Waiting for Godot. That bitch can't act, and this Tony Award proves it.

In closing, I'd like to quote a few lines from the 90s R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!: "It feels good yeah/It feels good/Oh it feels good/Sure feels good to me."

P.S. This post was Jeff's idea. I asked him for a subject and he suggested this--"It's topical!" or a post about me hosting the Tony Awards. But then he reconsidered: "It would just be you and your mom on the couch with a magnum of wine, commenting on what was happening, and then someone else would  have to introduce the nominees." Truth.


  1. Anonymous2:55 PM

    OMG, Thank You. I was just stressing completely out and I thought, what can I do? Where can I go? So I came here to find something funny and coincidentally, my 3rd grader was recently in his school's African folk tale production (Zoomba the Rabbit) and all I can picture is his classmates looking out at the crowd thinking, "Someday, I will fucking own you," and I just died. Laughing of course.

  2. I love this! I also love the Kronos Quartet (but that's not really the point here). Your posts always crack me up-thank you!!

  3. Thanks, you guys! I know this one is kind of random (and I wrote it at midnight on a tired brain), but I was proud of it.

  4. What a great idea for a blog post that also acts as some sort of pick-me-up.
    It's always fun to revisit and reevaluate your life


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