For the past month or so I've been shooting for June 1st. That's the day when all of my outside gigs are done (for at least a couple days) and I get to relax for a bit. The biggest outside activities that have had me tied up lately are the pre-concert interviews I do for the SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra. I'll be sure to report back about the ones I have this week, on the topic of Gershwin as a culture vulture. It's the interviews I gave LAST week that I'm here to talk about today.
They went perfectly fine, by the way. Better than fine, even, because my subject, Joshua Weilerstein, was such a good sport. It's easy for those talks to turn into "So why did you became a musician" or "What do you like to do for fun", but I'm always interested in giving the audience a little meat. We talked about the concert as it applies to many of today's issues, including religion separating people, and much more. Shout out to Josh for a really great pair of talks.
The second of the two interviews took place on a Saturday evening - the night I have off from my radio gig at APM. With that in mind, I wanted to go out and have some fun afterward, and wanted to dress appropriately. It took me about 30 minutes to decide what I wanted to wear, because I was dealing with something I've finally decided to say goodbye to forever - RESPECTABILITY POLITICS.
Here's how Wikipedia defines it:
Respectability politics or the politics of respectability refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being continuous and compatible with dominant values rather than challenging the mainstream for what they see as its failure to accept difference.
It might seem pretty insignificant if you've never been black in white spaces, but it is! I wanted to dress the way I wanted to dress, and because of societal norms, I had to think about how I'd look on an orchestral stage as the only black person not just in the room, but in the entire BUILDING. In the heat of my distress, I made a decision - I will not allow respectability politics to have a place in my life anymore. Not ever again. Never.
So I went in my closet, grabbed my Forces, and went to do my job. No one died, no one got hurt, and everything was just fine. If you've made it this far, I beg you - help me dismantle and destroy respectability politics by saying goodbye to them with me!