Michael Davis: The Black Hollywood Shuffle
The image of Icon to the left was on Arsenio Hall’s Facebook page last week. There’s a funny story behind that. Well, its funny to me.
I like Arsenio. I like him a lot. I’ve met him a few times but we are by no means boys. Whenever I see him I’d like to think he remembers me but I think he’s just being polite. Each and every time I run into him, what strikes me is how polite and straight up real the man is.
Polite, straight up and real is raised to another level by a woman of his staff. What level? Putting it as politely as I can, she’s a straight up bitch, for real.
I was invited to the Arsenio show some months ago. Guests on the show that day included Don Cheadle and Billy D. Williams. It’s fair to say each have earned countless distinctive accolades but some praise could easily apply to both. Each is respected as wonderful actors from a legion of fans. They get the sex symbol nod from others and many only see two cool as fuck badass mofo’s.
Every geek and nerd sees little or none of that above noise. They don’t see Don Cheadle and Billy D. Williams hardly or at all. It’s War Machine and the greatest Black Science Fiction character to ever grace the big screen, Lando Calrissian who they see and that’s who I saw when I made a beeline for Billy D’s dressing room.
So, there I was talking some, down right, up right, San Diego Comic Con and Black Panel smack to Billy, his manager and agent both who knew of the panel and me.
That was cool.
Billy knew me also, well kind of. Each time I see him at some event or party, I tell him if he attended The High School Of Art & Design, my school, instead of the much inferior High School Of Music & Art, he’d be a successful artist today. Instead of having to fall back on that “acting” bullshit. No, I never mention I know he’s a successful painter, which would ruin a running joke nearly 20 years old.
But I digress and every time I do, Peter David gets a check a angel gets his wings and more readers get sick of reading that.
Where was I?
Where I was, about to finalize plans to honor Billy D at The Black Panel, was his dressing room, invited in by Mr. Williams himself. Then, she who would have been named but I’m not without mercy, entered and that, as they say, is all she wrote.
No idea what her title was for the show but she seemed like she was the senior, Self Hating Unhappy Negro – or SHUN. SHUN ignored my backstage credentials, ignored Billy’s agent’s assurances I was invited to be there, and in no uncertain terms told me to leave Mr. Williams alone. I tried to talk to her, Billy’s agent tried even Billy tried. She refused to believe I was not some lowly actor out to sweat Mr. Williams.
Waving a finger a hair away from my face she informed me I was one more sentence away from security being called. She was about one more inch from me becoming that nigger, but I decided against it.
No clue how I walked the fuck away without another word. I was so fucking livid I had to get out of there as my heart was racing and I’m sure my blood pressure was dangerously high and, honest to god, I felt my head was going to burst a blood vessel.
I left the building but by the time I reached my car someone from the show called my cell hoping I was still on the lot. It seems someone told SHUN who the fuck I was and just what the fuck I was there for in the place. Hint: it wasn’t to stalk Billy D. No idea to this day who I talked to but for their trouble they received a fuck you so loud it shattered the last bit of shield my brain was using to ward off a migraine and I didn’t care.
This level of pissed is rare. Even for me.
This was a big deal. You may not see it as such but yes, yes it is. Not for most reasons you would think I think. All my wrath and indignation is not towards this woman, my anger has little to do with her or what she did to me.
My anger is rooted in Black Hollywood and our rush to destroy what little we have.
Many in Black Hollywood, forget we are Black in Hollywood and I’m about to remind them.
End of Part 1.