Last week I flew to New York to appear on BET’s 106 & Park. The entire cast of Remixed! was asked to do a little PR. Since Joia and I live in L.A. we decided to fly out together. Joia arrives at five am my house to catch the Super Shuttle. Yeah, I said Super Shuttle. Fifteen bucks ain’t bad when no car service is being provided. But why was the driver blasting smooth jazz way too loud at 5:15 am? Even after I asked him to turn it down. Once at LAX, the holiday crush was in full effect. The line to get upstairs to the security line to get to the gate was over a block long. Finally, we are on the plane. Delta Song. G-H-E-T-T-O. No 1st class. No business class. They don’t have it. Two rows of seats, three seats in each row. What is that Police song, “packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes?” It was however cool that they have DISHTV. I got to watch an episode of “Remixed!” at 40,000 feet. That was cool. I had a mile-high moment with myself. Alright, not really but watching myself on TV, on a plane was very cool.
The plane lands (thank you Father), and we arrive only to discover New York is in the midst of a transit strike. Luckily BET has a car for us, the driver was cute and very good at what he does. An hour later, a fast trip through Harlem, and we are at our hotel. If you haven’t stayed at the Hudson Hotel, you should. It’s nice. The rooms are tiny. The bathrooms are chic. The artwork is by my fave artist, Francesco Clemente and the restaurant and bar scene is very good. The guy who checked us in was hot and gave me the eye.
In celebration of my birthday, I decided to host a party. In truth, my friend Scott Webster, who is always up for a good time, decided to throw me a party. His friend Rachel Elizabeth recently purchased a house and was looking for an excuse to toss a soiree. Me? Mostly I want to be left alone, but with BET’s ReMixed ending its first season and a few dollars in the bank, I did feel like celebrating. So why not? A boy only turns thirty for the hundredth time, a hundred times.
Since I did not know Rachel well, other than styling her video for Rachel’s Angels, I called her inquiring what to expect and if she needed anything from me? Rachel was very cool. “Do you need any cash,” I asked? “No, it’s your birthday,” Rachel replied. “Good answer,” I thought. “Well, if anything comes up, let me know,” I replied. We decided on a date, and an Evite was created. Hosting a party is nerve-wracking enough without wondering if anyone is coming. Never have a party on the weekend of Thanksgiving. No one is in town. I was shocked at how many people declined my invite because they were going home for Thanksgiving. I never do as it’s so close to Christmas. Why put yourself through the trauma twice!?
Last night I attended the finale of America’s Next Top Model Cycle Five. I’m a reluctant fan of the show. I believe the girls that become the second runner-up are the ones that should win. I am a fan of Elyse, Kahlen, Mercedes, Shandi, and Shannon. This season was all about Bre Scullark. Bre was like the girls I grew up with in Chicago. Fabulous, a touch ghetto, pretty, and oh so real. Whenever she was on screen, I was riveted. Though I didn’t see a win in Bre’s future, she made it to the final three. Robbed. Victory snatched from her grasp. I love how she kept it real until the very end. When she lost, the heels came off, and the glasses went back on. You must never forget in your travels who you are. She did not. Tonight my mission was to meet her. I did, and she was just as I hoped she would be. Sublime.
I’ve been working non-stop for the past seven months. From How Do I Look on the Style network to House Calls at cbs.com to BET’s Remixed to On Q Live. I’ve been on a roll, and it’s been great. Remixed filmed its last episode of the season two weeks ago. The entire shoot, I was praying for the end. I just wanted it to be over. It was incredibly hard. I loved my co-hosts. I never met three such giving people, but shooting Remixed was challenging. Then you are at the end, and there’s that FEAR. The fear you may never work again. The fear that this is a fluke and you’ll be back selling shoes, which isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened. Actually, I made a lot of money selling shoes, but feet are not so glamorous no matter to whom they are connected. Luckily I went right into hosting a week of On Q Live for the Q Television Network. That just ended, and now I’m unemployed!
THE TIME HAS COME FOR NEW HEADSHOTS. ALL OF A SUDDEN FOR HEADSHOT IT’S ALL ABOUT COLOR. WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? THE THING WITH HEADSHOTS IS THEY CAN EITHER BE GREAT AND GET YOU A JOB OR HORRID AND A WASTE OF CASH. A THING YOU ARE SADDLED WITH UNTIL THE NEXT TIME YOU’VE GOT AN EXTRA FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS LAYING AROUND YOU DON’T WANNA SPEND ON SHOES OR RENT. ANYWAY, IT WAS TIME FOR NEW HEADSHOTS. MY FRIEND GABRIEL HAD BEEN ASKING ME TO SHOOT WITH HIM FOR MONTHS. I WAS AMBIVALENT, NOT BECAUSE GABRIEL ISN’T A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER. HE IS GREAT. IT WAS BECAUSE I’D YET TO SEE HIM SHOOT A BROTHER. GABRIEL HAS SHOT LOTS OF CAUCASIAN MEN, BUT NO AFRICAN AMERICANS AND IT IS DIFFERENT. WE NEED TO BE LIT WELL, TO PICK UP OUR SKIN TONES. I ALSO DIDN’T FEEL LIKE BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. THOSE WHO KNOW ME STOP LAUGHING. I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE HAVING MY PICTURE TAKEN. I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE BEING FILMED; Y’ALL KNOW I WANNA LIVE MY LIFE IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE BEING A MODEL AGAIN. THE MUTE OBJECT OF THE LENS. NOW WHEN I STEP IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, I WANNA BE HEARD. I ALSO DIDN’T KNOW IF I STILL HAD “IT.” “IT,” THAT THING THAT HAPPENS WITH THE CAMERA, MODEL, AND PHOTOGRAPHER, WHICH MAKES A GOOD PICTURE. WHAT IF I LOST “IT” OR GREW OUT OF “IT?” I NEVER WORRIED ABOUT “IT” WHILE MODELING. I TOOK “IT” FOR GRANTED. NOW WOULD “IT” HAVE DESERTED ME? OKAY, I’M MAKING MYSELF SICK WITH “IT!”
GABRIEL’S IDEA WAS TO SHOOT ME AGAINST A PINK BACKGROUND. I LOVE PINK. IS IT TOO GAY TO SAY THAT? BEING A STYLIST I PULLED A FEW THINGS I THOUGHT WOULD WORK; A PINK TEE WITH A COTTON BLOOM WHICH I LOVE AND FIND IRONIC BECAUSE OF COTTON AND THE BLACK MAN’S HISTORY IN AMERICA, A GREY MARC JACOBS-ESQUE JACKET DIRT CHEAP FROM URBAN OUTFITTERS, A BROWN LEATHER CUFF BECAUSE IT WAS VERY “YOUNG ACTOR-Y.” MY ROOMMATE ERIC AND I PILE IN THE CAR. ERIC DRIVES ME BASICALLY EVERYWHERE, SINCE I DON’T DRIVE AND NEVER LEARNED. E ALSO INTRODUCED ME TO GABRIEL. THEY HAVE BEEN FRIENDS FOREVER. OFF TO THE VALLEY. ONCE THERE AND INSIDE THE STUDIO GABRIEL STARTS PUTZING WITH LIGHTING AND I START FUSSING WITH MAKE UP. YEAH, I SAID IT. I HAD TO THROW SOME MAC STUDIO FIX NW45 ON THE DOME AND FILL IN MY BROWS. THERE WE ARE AGAINST THE PINK SWEEP AND I’M PLYING MY TRADE, WHICH IS A BIT EMBARRASSING IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS. ONE HOUR LATER, AND WE ARE DONE. DIGITAL IS THE MOST AMAZING THING. YOU SHOOT, AND YOU HAVE IT. A GAZILLION FRAMES LATER, AND I HAVE NEW HEADSHOTS. I LIKE THEM. THEY ARE PRETTY IN PINK.