Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Real Men Can Cook NYC

On Father's Day, I attended an event in Harlem called Real Men Can Cook NYC...it was a glorious summer day (even though it wasn't "officially" summer) temperatures had to hover near 80 degrees, so I pulled out an long Orange sleeveless number and painted my face and headed over to 141st St & Lenox Avenue where the event was scheduled to take place. As a veteran of these cooking events (NY Magazine used to hold them semi annually), I was looking forward to attending an INDOOR event with AIR CONDITIONING at The Minisink Center. Well....lol...imagine my surprise when I arrived and found that the entire event was situated er....OUTSIDE!

The event had more of a "Block Party" feel to it, which I loved. My invitation as a "Celebrity Taster" came by way of Roz Nixon, who I have known since I was a newbie plus model on the scene. Miss Roz was all done up in Orange too, complete with an Orange Patent leather bag that I was TOTALLY coveting. I see that Miss Roz is running crazy as usual so I greet her quickly and she hands me an VIP wristband that allows me to go to each vendor and sample their wares. As you know, my list of food issues seems to get longer and longer...lol...so I was very leery of sampling anything from folks I don't know....(see my previous blogs). But I did break down at the sight of a Sweet Potato Pie from my girl, Melba Wilson's restaurant!

I was supposed to be escorted by my oldest nephew....but lo and behold...he never showed up, never called....and to date...has NOT apologized for his rude behavior....(I will deal with you later Darren..I promise), but...lol...I digress....

My day was going absolutely perfectly, I roamed the crowd and took pictures of proud fathers & grandfathers with their children. I greeted, hugged and took photos with any and everyone who recognized me and wanted to chat. I ran into old friends like Dawnna, who I haven't seen since my boy Ronn Thornton passed on....I checked out the live WBLS Sunday Morning Classics broadcast with Hal Jackson...and I chatted for a while with legendary WBLS DJ Vaughn Harper (who let it slip that my boy Tony Blades had snuck in and out of town without telling me!!) and his beautiful daughter. Actress & Producer Debra Byrd was in the house too! There was a stage set up and Showtime at The Apollo host, comedian Capone, was the host for the show....Allyson Williams was on hand to perform as was Johnny "Just Got Paid" Kemp......Allyson and I sat outside with two ladies that were at the tables with us (one told me her story of how she lost 100lbs and was much happier and I think the other sister had lost like 75 lbs) and sipped Orange Fanta's (courtesy of the Coca Cola sponsors) and got caught up.

Upstairs in the lovely air conditioned VIP room, I sat and talked for awhile with former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields & a brother that's a photographer (who I see and talk to at a bunch of events but for the life of me can't remember his name...please forgive me) about the pros & cons of the NYPD's use of tasers in lieu of er...50 shots - Interesting Convo ya'll....for real. It was upstairs where I got my hands into that freshly delivered pie...lol.

All was going well for me and as the evening began to get late I realized I needed to get over to the Bronx and spend time with my Mom & stepdad for Father's Day...so I went over to say my good bye's to Roz & her partner Dawn and then the plan was to walk over the bridge to the Bronx.....but Roz apparently had other ideas....she asked me to get up and say a few words to the crowd (something I REALLY dislike doing without advance notice....I like to have time to formulate my thoughts and say something that is both meaningful and informative...that's just me...ya know?)...I had been there all day, walking around greeting people & talking, so I didn't really see the need for me to take the stage to talk (politicians do that and it gets on my nerves...)so I tried to back out gracefully, and say that I wasn't prepared but home girl just insisted.

As I walked on stage with Capone and he introduced me from "MoNique's FAT Chance"....Something just felt wrong to me....the response from the crowd (MY OWN people mind you...) was quite er...Lukewarm? lol...yeah, that's a good way of putting it....and I really didn't get where it was coming from....so I said my few words and my Happy Father's Day....and was trying to get off that stage quickly....but before I could make my exit....

Capone comes back on stage and says something like this:

The reason you probably didn't get the response you were looking for is because....

Uh...You ain't really fat.

Well, Har-dee-har-har.....really? You Think?

At what point did I ever say I was fat and why on earth should that matter????

Well, needless to say, I was so disgusted for him throwing me under the bus like that...just to get a damn laugh....that I was fuming all the way to the Bronx. He ruined my entire day with that sh#t!

But what hurt me the most is that THIS is the crap that I get all the time from women who meet me on the street - and I try to be nice in my responses but I am reaching my breaking point here....It should not matter what size I am NOW - the fact is that I HAVE been what is considered a FAT GIRL MOST of my life (I topped out at 260 lbs before I chose life over death) and trust me when I tell you those were MY only options....

But the ongoing fight over the discrimination of plus size women is an issue that I have devoted my life to. It doesn't matter that I am no longer as big as I was -

My Mother is a plus sized woman,
My Sister is a plus sized woman,
My Niece is a plus sized woman,
My best friend is a plus sized woman,
The majority of my friends and family are or have been plus sized women....

I lace up my boxing gloves and fight the good fight for them and ALL of my plus sized sisters - EVERY DAY OF MY DAMN LIFE!!!!

If all YOU are doing is eating Doritos and complaining about who's fat enough to be in the "big girl club" and who isn't, but YOU aren't willing to fight to change things.....

then please don't step to me about what size I am cuz quite frankly:

I don't want to hear it.

The choices I make for ME are mine alone to make and I am secure in who I am. If YOU are NOT fighting right alongside me - your opinion matters little to me.

Whew! And now that I have gotten that off my chest.....(believe me I needed it to...it was eating me up inside).

Thank you Roz Nixon for inviting me and congratulations on another successful event!

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."

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