This week I've been walking around in a daze. I had no idea a movie about a famed rap group would continue to enforce the power of gratitude, law of attraction and MAGIC at work in my life. When I moved back to Louisiana in 2008, things looked dismal. I'd returned home without work, very few friends and low funds. After trying to secure a "real" job and getting no results, I opted to go back to waiting tables. In the past, that type of work always led to new opportunities AND going home with cash everyday is always nice. I got a job at Houston's on St. Charles in New Orleans - plus side it's always packed. Downside it's always packed with people who had known me before so they wanted to know what happened with my life that after working in Hollywood with "the stars", I was now a waitress. Although it was embarrassing at first to share that I'd come home to regroup as the pursuit of my dreams had left me a bit discombobulated. Luckily I had coworkers that believed in me when I'd share my dreams. In particular there was my friend Darren, a talented musician who could relate to the plight of a creative dreamer. And then there was Yvonne. Yvonne was someone who always had the right words - like when I first came to work wearing my hair in it's natural state, Yvonne was the one who said rock that ish. When I would get upset because I had to face folk who knew me when I was up, Yvonne was the one who gave pep talks in shaking them off. And when I'd have a bad day and feel like my dream would never come back around, Yvonne was the one who would provide enthusiasm and pep talks to get me through the shift. Yvonne and I became friends at Houston's but our relationship was able to last beyond that - highlights include me doing her first radio interview and her giving my sister her first production job. So I was pleasantly surprised when I moved to L.A. last August and low and behold, guess who was in town indefinitely? YVONNE! She had moved to L.A. for a while to help support her brother who was filming the new NWA movie. Once again my life was in transition and once again Yvonne had popped up to bring new energy and motivation. My first few months here were great as she was a welcome piece of home as I re-navigated the city.
Fast forward to last week. I'd spoken to Yvonne who was planning to come to L.A. for the premiere of "Straight Outta Compton" to support her brother. I invited her to stay with me. She arrived last Thursday. Our first two days together were a recap of all the things we'd spoken about that have since come to pass - how I talked about getting back to Cali when we worked together or how just last summer she called in production accounting work! We literally have been manifesting our lives the entire time we've known each other. And now we were surrounded by more people with stories that paralled. Here we were sitting and chilling with her brother who critics are praising for his portrayal of rapper Easy E. His dreams are coming true right in front of us and that's powerful to witness. All of this "magic" was happening as a result of her visit! All I could think about were the possibilities of what could happen and we hadn't even seen the movie yet!
On Sunday we went to a cast/crew screening of the film. At the screening the director, F. Gary Gray (side note: Freaking F Gary Gray! FRIDAY! SET IT OFF! That dude!), gave a brief speech about how the film had come together. He spoke to the cast/crew as if he were genuinely grateful for the work they had done to make this vision a reality. He gave numbers examples of specific things people had done. The attending cast got to speak. It was crazy listening to O'Shea Jackson, Jr. talk about this being his first movie role and how it felt to play his dad. I couldn't imagine...then it was time for Yvonne's brother Jason to speak. He was so excited as he thanked everyone for helping make his dream come true. As someone who has worked in production, movie making is truly a team sport. It felt good to see the movie for the first time with those who had labored for it. The movie was amazing...so great I'm going to write a whole 'nother post reviewing it when I get to work! But the feeling I got from being in the theater with those people who literally made the movie.
Monday was the premiere. Let's be clear, this was not my first premiere but there was something special about going and celebrating with my girl. Our word for the night was CELEBRATION and we were bout that life! I'd taken off early and got my nails done. We met up, got dressed and went to get makeup done. When we arrived at the shop, it was clear we were running very behind schedule which is a nightmare for me. My ego kicks in with the mental chatter about "messing up" and I silently start to freak out. But because I was Yvonne's guest, I opted to go with her flow which was calm and flexible. Once makeup was done we hopped in an Uber. The driver was excellent, taking us through 6pm Monday L.A. traffic like a pro. We got the venue with 10 minutes to spare. Again, this was not my first premiere but I had NEVER seen an event line like the one ahead. My experiences with these type of events had me prepared for the crowds and lines but this premiere was the most massive I had seen! First of all it was at the type of theatre that houses concerts and plays not movies. It's HUGE and from the looks of the line, every seat was going to be accounted for. The good news about the crowd is at that point I know it's impossible to start the movie on time. That helped me relax, figure a short cut to the line and get the tickets quickly. We arrived to our seats, shortly after Jason came over and then it was showtime. Tonight, F. Gary Gray (yes I keep saying his whole name!) was accompanied by the people who made it happen - the surviving members of N.W.A.
Now listen, we're talking Ice Cube, DJ Yella, MC Ren and Dr. Freakin DRE on stage talking about their lives and this movie they had made. I was so captivated but for obvious reasons I was estatic when Ice Cube spoke about how he wrote Friday and collaborated with F. Gary Gray to make the movie and now they got to do this story together. I was full of emotion. I'm sitting on the row as a guest of one of the stars who is from where I'm from, I'm surrounded by "the stars" and I'm facing people who in the face of adversity leaned on their talent and changed their entire world. EXHALE! It was a lot to take in. One thing I will say about the movie is that the opening scene makes me want to scream aloud. I am still not quite sure if it's based solely on the sequence's action or if I'm just in awe of how this night had come together for me.
I wasn't there because I worked for such and such who manages you know who. I wasn't there because I was dealing with some dude who gave me the hookup. I was there supporting my friend who was supporting her brother who was very happy to have his people there with him. That's my dream - to do what I love and be surrounded by the people I love who love me back. I'm always on the lookout for the signs - signs that I'm on the right track, signs that it can happen, signs that dreamers like me were here and made it. The experience of STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON has been such a clear and vivid sign of what I truly desire and how close it is to me at all times.
The evolution continues...