I'm Not Going!

I keep going to see the movie, Dreamgirls, over and over again. Why the obsession? Well, every gay man I know thinks that there is a big, strong, beautiful, black woman trapped inside his body. (Dreamgirls Exhibit A, B, C, and D: music: composed by a gay man; lyrics: written by a gay man; original Broadway production: staged by a gay man; film version: written and directed by a gay man.)

And when I was in Berkeley with Rica last weekend, I wanted to stop every black person I saw on the street and say, "We're going to see Dreamgirls again!"—as if seeing that movie automatically establishes a strong kinship between me and the African-American community.

I understand my need to connect. It parallels everybody else's need, even though everybody else's need is ridiculous.

A friend of mine was at a party with me once and witnessed, in rapid and eerie succession, a series of short conversations between me and several white party guests whom I had just met. Here's an abbreviated reenactment:

ME: ...Hi, I'm Prince.

PARTY GUEST #1: Jonathan. Cool party. Which reminds me, I was at the Asian Art Museum today, and it was great. How do you think it compares to the ones on the east coast? Oh, a friend of mine just walked through the door. I'll see you later.

ME: ...Hi, I'm Prince.

PARTY GUEST #2: Hello. Cindy. What do you think of Jet Li's new movie? I think it's his best. I'm gonna go get a drink.

ME: ...Hi, I'm Prince.

PARTY GUEST #3: I just love Thai food!

From these conversation snippets, you would think that I was an expert on Asian art (I can't stand to be at an art museum for more than 15 minutes), that I'm familiar with Jet Li's filmography (um, which one is Jet Li?), and that I'm responsible for the entire culinary history of Thailand (I like tater tots). I'm not.

The only thing you can really place your chips on is that every time Jennifer Hudson tells me that she's not going and that I'm gonna love her, tears will burst from my eyes and I will sob until my pale skin melts off my body to reveal a shade of Beyonce.

Back when I used to watch American Idol, Hudson was my favorite singer that season. When she was booted early and unceremoniously (after Simon Cowell suggested she was just too big—physically—to be an American Idol), I was crushed. I felt like Jennifer Hudson herself had sat on me.

So I knew that Hudson was going to be great in Dreamgirls. But nothing prepared me for how, in her showstopping number ("And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going"), she absolutely rips your heart out, throws it to the ground, and spits on it. It's a soul-shaking performance. Enough to make me want to turn to every clapping black person in the audience and declare, "I'm watching Dreamgirls! I'm watching it! Look at me! I'm here! And, damn it, I'm not going!"

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