laugh laugh laugh
Cherie invited me to her friend Lonnie Renteria’s first documentary movie premiere at the Seattle Northwest Film Forum on Sunday. I hadn’t planned anything for the afternoon except for laundry so I happily obliged. I didn’t even know what the movie was about but I trust Cherie and was eager to meet the famous Lonnie. :) We first went to a pre-show party at Lonnie’s where we met the star of the movie, Keith Price. He was like the Sun of the universe that warms up the little brown stone apartment filled with mostly Lonnie’s close friends. By then I only knew the movie was called Ebony Chunky Love: Bitch Can’t Get a Date. As we waited inline to get into the theater, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The movie answered the question very quickly. Keith Price, like many comedians, draw his materials from his own life. He’s unique because he alone is the combination of many social stigma: black (with part Honduran), chubby, homosexual and more. How could I relate to a comedian that prides himself as black, chubby, and gay? Well, as the movie went on, it was immediately very obvious that Keith is a very talented comic. Not only was he funny, he was authentic. He’s adorable and lovable. Everything on him says happiness. “When life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it, sometimes the best thing you can do is laugh.” The things Keith talks about are things that everyone can relate to whether it’s race, body image, identify, popular culture, class, or being gay. The documentary also features comments from scholars analyzing the impact of Keith on breaking the bounds of social stereotype. I’m not knowledgeable of comics nor documentaries, but I highly recommend the film.
The part I can relate the most to was his father constant criticism of Keith’s weight. Keith eventually told his father to f*#% off, not just once but a dozen times. Well, it just so happened that I had done exactly that except in a polite email to my own mother the day before. Cherie and I looked at each other and laughed even harder. We have been talking about the Law of Attraction lately. I knew, even though unsure of the response of my mom to my email, that was the right thing to do. After the movie, I walked up to Keith because I just really wanted to give him a hug. After the hug, while we were still in an embrace, I told him about my story. Then this 6’2 big guy just gave me another big hug. And then just when we were breaking apart, “awww… I need to give you another huuuug.” At this point we were both wiping tears from our eyes. I’m not the only one who struggles with an overly critical parent who constantly berates her daughter’s body. The laughs and the tears connected me to Keith like soldiers who once fought on the same battlefield. When life gets really hard, Keith showed me that you can still have a moment to laugh.
On my way home, I remembered Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spok)’s Full Body Project which captures large women in nude. The women were dancing and embracing each other completely nude in the pictures. They looked happy. However, my narrow minded eyes couldn’t see beauty in these pictures. Keith Price was different. He really SHOWED his true beauty in his soul through his comedy, his story, and just his most authentic self. He is beautiful.