Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: The Snack Prince's sexy bite, Queen Oprah, and the Law Zaddy is coming back to TV.
Yo, Duchess R. Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding was the blackest thing I have experienced in a minute. I'm shewk! I was not expecting to feel highly melanated whilst watching a future episode of The Crown. TBH, I'm not even sure I would have watched the wedding live if I hadn't been covering it for work. Meanwhile, David set an alarm for the exact moment that the Queen arrived. And then he was so excited that he woke up a minute before it went of. He has Queen-dar. It goes off every time I enter the room. COMEDY.
David is a big Anglophile, but in a normal white person way, I guess. I don't know what this means but I just assume that a lot of people like the Royals and a lot of those people are white and I assume there's a correlation but I haven't really done any deep thinking about it. I am an American; I don't have time for investigation. That said, my mother also woke up at 4 a.m. to watching the Royal Wedding, so what do I know. She was very excited to hear I'd be covering it for work. I was like, "Why are you so into this?" She reminded me she'd watched Diana's wedding live, and William and Kate's. She was invested in these people as people; she wanted to join in their joy on a human level. I get that. I think David likes them for the same reasons. And also a little bit because crowns and very slow English church music are very much his jam.
Well, honey, his jam got turned up to 11 by Duchess R. Meghan. Between that tent revival message from Bishop Curry and the soul music cover by a gospel choir, the Royal wedding for capital C CHU'CH and I wasn't ready. David was living, of course. As much as he likes stuffy old English stuff, he likes lively, spirit-filled things even more. He was actually familiar with Bishop Curry's work before the wedding and was psyched for him to let the place out. After the sermon, David was like "That was good, but I've heard him go in harder." I was still lying on the floor wheezing at this black man delivering his Juneteenth message to the Queen. Did I expect an usher in white orthopedic shoes to pop up and pass an offering plate to Elton John? Absolutely. Did I think Posh Spice was going to pull out a paper fan with Obama's picture on the front and an ad for a funeral home on the back? Of course. The pastor even did the old "I'm gonna sit down after this," which is pastor-speak for "I've got 10 more good minutes in me, followed by an altar call."
That was the kind of message that has even the most mild-mannered amongst us church-rocking and stomping in the aisles. That was the kind of message that precedes a dinner with baked macaroni and cheese and collard greens. That was the kind of message in which the organist suddenly starts playing chords at random to underscore the points the preacher is making. I love how random moments of blackness can easily turn into musical production numbers. OH! And the music! That choir director was living ALL OF HER BEST LIVES. The silver up-do, the gestures, the facial expressions. I felt my baritone truth come bursting out of my chest every time pushed her hand forward like "Let's turn this place out!" I couldn't believe people weren't clapping and singing along. I couldn't believe the whole thing didn't suddenly become "Can You Feel A Brand New Day" from The Wiz. I couldn't believe church didn't break all the way out and go on for at least 45 more minutes. The people in the church were already wearing Black Easter hats; they might as well fully commit.
Of course, this wasn't that kind of thing. David reminded me it wouldn't be appropriate to clap, to which I was like "Well, the Lord says 'if y'all stay silent, the rocks are gonna cry out.' HALLELUJAH! That's Bible!" My husband has a Masters degree in Divinity and has read the Bible in Greek, Hebrew, and English, but I still feel the need to Baptist-splain every once in a while.
A day later, I am still thinking about that wedding; it was a spirit moment, a political moment, and a culture moment. Donald Trump didn't get an invite but the Holy Ghost sure did. I'm amazed. R. Meghan and Harry did the damn thing exactly as they wanted to. They're real ones, y'all. R. Meghan and Harry saw Black Panther in the theater. On opening weekend. Twice. You can't tell me they didn't blast Beyonce and Janelle Monae at the after-party. You know they did.
To be clear, I don't think they were making an aggressive statement against the imperial system in which they participate. I do think they were suggesting a model for how we can see each other, affirm each other, and make space for each other in the world. They created a ceremony that acknowledged the multi-faceted nature of their shared and separate histories, like the best weddings do. They didn't shy aware from speaking the truth, even if it was uncomfortable, like the best religious services do. They created a space in a stodgy, old British chapel for the potential of a church shout. Even though the shout never came, that energy is still there and it changes the space.
Do I think it was revolutionary? In as much as every life, lived truthfully is revolutionary, yes. It reminded me of our wedding, in which we combined gospel and mainstream Presbyterian traditions and the music of Whitney and Stevie and storytelling and stagecraft and more to create something that felt like us, both as we were individually and as we had the potential to be together.
I also thought of theater, of the experience I had watching an August Wilson play with a mostly black audience for the first time. How the responses to the actions on the stage were vocal, vociferous, familiar. There were shouts. And that stunned me. That, to me, is what I aspire to as a writer; I want to create the potential for a shout. Even if you're the Queen of England and you would never, I want to be in the space where that energy is possible. Because when a shout is possible, revolution isn't far behind.
This week, SO MUCH to shout about (some of it even good!). We must discuss Avenatti and Mooch's TV show, plus the president's late night calls with Hannity, and Queen Oprah. But first. THE BITE
[GIF by @misstourane]
Perhaps the most endearing moment (and most sensual, let's just be real honest) from the wedding of Prince Harry and the former R. Meghan Markle, came when Meghan arrived at the front of the church and was greeted by Harry, who told her "You look amazing," and then bit his lip. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Be honest, if you were about to have the biggest wedding of the decade and could invite literally anyone in the world, wouldn't Oprah be your first choice? She'd be everyone's first choice. Oprah is preemptively invited to every wedding on Earth; this is just a fact. Vistaprint automatically sends her the first invitation from every printing batch; you don't even have to worry about finding her address or getting the calligrapher to write "Queen Oprah Winfrey, Joy of Our Hearts" on the envelope. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
"Congratulations America," the President of the United States wrote with the peevish, barely contained fury of a first act Glinda arriving at new student orientation. "We are now in the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History," he continued, once again erasing the all the hard work of Salem resident Abigail Williams. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
The Spin Doctors have waited, literally, their entire careers for this. Behold, this one, who has got his princely racket, that's what I said now, got some big seal upon his jacket. It's like an alt-rock prophecy. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Presumably, the show would also answer the age-old question: who has a better take on today's geopolitical issues—a former racecar driver who is representing a woman who engaged in some light spanking play with a reality star during Shark Week or a Guiliani-light whose tenure at the White House wasn't even long enough for direct deposit to go through? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
As reported by Olivia Nuzzi in New York Magazine, said White House official (most likely Jared Kushner, finally snapping) claims that the talk show host and the president show host talk multiple times a day, culminating in the night-night call in which Hannity reads a chapter of Harry Potter and grossly misinterprets the moral. Hannity is one of few people with the ability to call into the White House switchboard and get connected to the president in his residence, which he reportedly does nightly around 10 p.m. One White House official quoted in the piece (Jared Kusher wearing a Velma Kelly wig and winged sunglasses) said, "What ends up happening is Judge Jeanine or Hannity fill him up with a bunch of crazy shit, and everyone on staff has to go and knock down all the f*ing fires they started." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Let's Hang Out!
DC: The Moth Story Slam on May 21st (tomorrow) at City Winery DC and on June 18 at the Miracle Theater
Philadelphia: The Moth Grand Slam on May 23rd at Union Transfer
New York: The Moth Ball on June 5th at Capitale