Friday, April 25, 2008


Looking back, it’s probably my fault. I started this mess.

For those of you who don’t know, The Color Purple is one of my favorite movies. I’ve seen it 85745850375347547405040 times. I know most of the lines and I’m prone to bursting out with an occasional, “You told Harpo to beat me”, “Ceeeeeelieeeee!!!”, or “You sho is ugly” phrase from the movie. It keeps things interesting.

(For those of you who aren’t as obsessed with me (or you live under a rock), The Color Purple is a movie about Celie (played by Whoopi Goldberg) , an abused black woman growing up in the 1900s. She goes from victim to victor in the 30 year span of her life that’s shown on screen.)

A few years ago, my beloved Uncle Charles got his hair loced. They looked good, but he always had this little piece of hair at the center of his forehead that I thought made him look like Celie, a la’ Color Purple (see photo). So I started to tease him and spout lines from the movie. Our conversations often went like this:
(Thanksgiving dinner)
Uncle Charles: Strength, can you pass the gravy?
Strength (rocking back and forth in my chair): Oh, don’t do it, Miss Celie! Don’t trade places with me Miss Celie!

( random greeting )
Uncle Charles: Hey Strength, how’s it going?
Strength: Oh, I see Mister bought his maid to the juke joint.
Uncle Charles: You know, this game is getting kinda old. Could we end it, please?
Strength: Hell, no! I said, hellllllll noooooo.
Uncle Charles: You ain’t right.
Strength: (hands raised in the air) Until you do right by me, everything you even think about is gonna crumble.

So yeah, that about sums up our relationship for those few years. Interesting enough, he cut off his locs around the time I was growing mine. Now he calls me Miss Celie, but it’s not the same, since he doesn’t know any lines from the movie.

Anyhow, here’s what’s happening to me lately:
(at the airport two yeas ago, meeting friend who hadn’t seen my locs, which are very short at this time)
Strength: Hey, good to see you.
Friend: What’s happenin’, Whoopi?!!!!!

(Getting a manicure a month ago, chatting with the white woman next to me about a book she was reading)
Woman: You have your hair like Whoopi Goldberg.
Strength: (no response, just give her a glare that I hope is menacing)
Woman: Are you a big fan of Whoopi Goldberg’s? Did you get your hair done like that so you can look like her?
Strength: (still silent, as I mentally hum Negro spirituals that keep me from punching her in the throat)
Woman: Well? Do you even watch The View?
Strength: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home........

(Going to dinner at a new restaurant with a friend who is black)
Friend: Wow! Your hair has really grown since I last saw you. I like it.
Strength: Thanks.
Friend: Yeah. You’ve got that whole Whoopi Goldberg thing going on.
Strength: Die, okay?? Just DIE!!!

So yes, apparently, Whoopi G is my new alter ego. I'm sure Whoopi is a lovely person in real life, but no, I don't think I look like her. I'd feel flattered, if folks were comparing me to, say, a sexy Whoopi G who looks like this, instead of the asexual way she typically looks. Now I just need the general public to understand that my name is not Whoopi!


Tha L said...

Aww dayum. That is NOT cool. But either way, sis, WORK IT!!

Cami said...

That's a trip! Do your thing, though.