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Monday, June 16, 2008

Then there was Tavis... not the end of the road yet.

Okay, as some of you know, my last Book of the Moment, was Tavis Smiley's, "What I know for Sure," and after reading it, he became an instant role model for me. Now I don't want to be him, or necessarily do what he does, but it made me want to kick up my drive for greatness; which I don't think I have been doing. The book just hit home personally for me, and I love this brotha now. Now we all have those guys, that we physically think are sexy, your Shemar Moores, your Tyson Beckfords, your music artist of the moment, or actor whatever... but mine right now, would have to be Tavis Smiley. I think it has to do, with all that smarts, witt, attitude, and empowerment, he poses, but I think he is sexy as hell, to me right now. I find as I get older, there is something so sexy, about intelligence.

I struggle so much with myself finding my true destiny and calling. That thing that I love to do and I am great at doing, because at times I feel like I will never find that wonderful element about myself. In his book Tavis talks about how he was good at several things, but it was hard for him to find that Great thing, about himself. He talks about how certain events and people, helped him to discover that public speaking, being an orator and debater, was his calling.

So just like me reading his book, for me seemed like it came at the right time, the fact that I found out the very next morning, after finishing his book, that he was going to be in town, on a speaking tour, felt just right. I felt like maybe this was destine, for me to attend, his speaking event. It mentioned, that there would be a special lunch, for the first few, who registered online, for tickets. Now the speaking event was free, and sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, but the free registered tickets online was needed to attend the lunch. I quickly got online and registered for my tickets. It asked whether you were a nationwide policy holder, yes or no. I said no, because I wasn't, and didn't really think any more about it. They asked what I would like my badge name to say, and I put my first name. They sent me a confirmation email, and I thought that was it. I thought that I was going to meet Mr. Smiley, and that over lunch he was going to give me some personal advice and encouragement, about discovering that greatness about myself.

For about a week and half, I was so excited about how I was going to meet the illustrious Tavis Smiley. I prepared for this event, a head of time. I ordered a new hardback copy of his book, that I recently read. I usually only buy hardbacks to begin with, butI had a paperback, it was on salend didn't think i was going to care for it really, so I went ahead and bought it some time back. I had my new book on ordered and delivered, for him to sign. Friday I went the barbershop, to get an edge and clean up, on my hair. I also contemplated getting a new outfit, to just look on point. The problem was, I didn't know if I should dress up, or go casual. I really don't have business casual anymore. I use to, but when I stopped working at a place ,that encouraged more of that, in the fall, I donated most of those clothes. I didn't want to over dress or even under dress. Before I went to the mall I checked out my closet, and realized that I had bought like four new button down Sean John shirts, earlier this Spring. I settled on this french cuff, royal blue and black vertical stripped shirt, a pair of black dress pants, and black leather dress sandals. I wanted to look great, but effortlessly, like I wasn't trying to.

Now Saturday morning, I was looking good, if I say so myself. From the clothes to the hair, to the skin was looking like butta, baby... just pure smooth butter. I was looking good, feeling good, excited, that I was going to meet and and talk to my new hero. Now you couldn't have told me with a million dollars, that morning, that I wasn't going to have a conversation with Tavis. Not even a little mini five or six minute conversation. I was excited as I drove downtown to the convention center. After a long look for parking, that wasn't going to cost me some just $10 dollars for two hours. I found $5 dollar all day event parking. I went through the huge lobby, and escalators, and whatnot to the huge ballroom/convention room, where he was at, with my book and notepad, to write down the things he said. How cheesy is that?

There was about 200 to 300 hundred people there,I was on the fourth row, good close personal eye view of him. He was very amazing to watch and listen to. He had everybody's undivided attention. I was just in awe at how moving he could be. He was enlightening, charismatic, funny, and intelligent. He talked about how it was not important about when we are born or die, but how we live our lives. The important thing on your tombstone is not the year you were born nor the year you die even, but its that dash in the middle that is the important part... that little dash, is the biggest thing of your life. It's not about who you were, but how you lived your life, and the legacy you leave. He talked about economic state of this country, he talked about Obama, and his love for him, even though he is hard on him. He says that he has to be, to keep him aware of the black state. That Obama is going to gave to remember to keep the balance between the great struggle of all men, Truth and Power. He brought up his mentor and great hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., just like I knew he would. He talked about this great man, who as he calls him, the greatest patriot that this country has ever seen, over any president and philosopher. Him talking about him, lead to the final thoughts and points, about how life comes at you fast and to be prepared..which brought in the whole Nationwide Insurance thing. They were the sponsors of the tour no less. Dr. King although was a great man and did so much for others, he forgot about certain things for his family, which was insurance. Even though he knew his time was coming up fast...the mountain Top speech for example. Tavis talked about how Coretta Scoot, didn't have any money to pay for King's funeral. How Harry Belafonte paid, for Dr. Kings funeral. Even though the whole Nationwide tie in, it was necessary for blacks to here it, because we all have family, who there was a time, when someone didn't have money to bury somebody else.

In his closing remarks, he stated, that after they let out, he talked about the luncheon, that he was attended, and those who were going, and he talked about those who wasn't there were three great workshops, they could attend, one on investing in your future, one on getting your family protected and insured, and one on working for nationwide. I wasn't interested in any of that, just on meeting Tavis at our lunch. He sat down, and the MC from Nationwide got up, and thanked him, and asked the people who were Nationwide policy holders, to stand up. It looked like it was 25 or 30 people, out of the couple of hundred. He told them that if they had registered for tickets, or hadn't but wanted to attend the lunch, they could go through certain doors. Where I found out he would be signing his new book too, so I was even more excited. Then he thanked and dismissed. I was a little confused at first, as to why the MC hadn't acknowledged those who had registered for tickets, but wasn't Nationwide policy holders. As people left the room. There was a huge networking event set right outside that convention room about Nationwide Insurance and other large minority based organizations booths set up. I wasn't interested in any of that, just meeting Tavis at that lunch. I went to the door, that was holding the luncheon, where there was several Nationwide employees and officials.

Here's where the story takes a not so great turn for me. Well I get to the door, and they are inquiring about my Nationwide policy, policy number and agents name. I inform them, that I'm not with nationwide. They in return inform me, that I couldn't attend the luncheon, because I wasn't a Nationwide Insurance policy holder. Still trying to keep my same positive high, that I was having after hearing Tavis speak, and the overall experience. I counter inform them, that I registered online, and received a confirmation email, that I had tickets. She informs that the luncheon is STRICTLY for Nationwide policy holders. So I counter attack, with, so why if that was the deal, then why didn't it not state that?...or why did it even send me a confirmation email, when it read that I checked "No", for current policy holder. They then in return counter, with that's just was it does and how it is. Before I could counter with anything else, they dismiss me, about going to the other workshops, how they have food set up in each workshop, how it is just the same. getting indignant now, I say "Oh really, is Tavis going to be in those workshops to, will he be signing copies of his new book too, and will I get to talk to him in these workshops?" She gave me a simple "Well, No." So I was like then its not the same.

After that a lady came up to me, about how would I like a souvenir picture of myself with Tavis Smiley. My was back, I thought. When taking the picture I would addresshim on my injustice. She told me that all I had to do was register to be solicited by Nationwide, on insurance. They needed my license and telephone number. I gave her the information, and she escorted me to a line, with a camera and lights and a screen behind. The photographer was taking pictures of just the people. I asked the lady, where was Tavis. She said in the computer. That the screen was a green screen. That they digitally place me right beside Tavis. I could pose anyway I wanted, beside him. I was silent, in me trying to register the nonsense of what she just said. So I was like, so I don't physically get to take a picture with him. She responded "No, he's busy in that luncheon." Frustrated by what she just said and the whole thing, I took my digitally imposed picture anyway, and left.

I left to go think for a second, about my next move or plan of action. I kept thinking about how in his book Tavis never gave up on certain situations. Like when he went to college, with nothing but a suitcase and a acceptance letter no money, no financial aide, or even without sending the a student enrollment response, to the letter. However he stayed and wouldn't leave, until someone at the college helped him and he was enrolled as a full time student. Then there was the time that he wanted a job with the mayor of Los Angelos as a college student. He bombarded the Mayors office with hundreds of letter, telegrams surprise visits from Indiana, and whatnot until they responded to him, and gave him a internship. I then decided to talk and portray my situation to every person I saw with a Nationwide badge, that wasn't in a nationwide Insurance T-shirt. I was looking for suits. I went to black, white, male and female, they all gave me the same run around. The last one, who was a black female. I old her it was unfair to those people who were insured with other companies before today. Why should I be punished because I was insured with another company, auto and life..even though I'm 22, have been for a few years, now. She said, that it was just how it was, but I was more than welcomed to go to those FUCKING! workshops again. I didn't want to here about another DAMN! workshop. I thought about sneaking in, and whatnot trying to let the inner groupie in me out, they always get in to meet their point man, but I didn't. Feeling crushed, I just left feeling defeated.

I just don't have that, won't take No for an answer personality. However as I drove home, I told myself that I may not have met him that day, but one soon I was going to meet my Tavis Smiley.


RealHustla said...

I'm so frustrated that I can't think of any comforting words. All I know is that if you put the energy and focus you used that day into your dreams, your dreams can become reality sooner than later. I said you should WRITE him, he might have the time to read your letter one day.

And oh, everything that you were going to get from meeting Tavis in person, you probably already have. You just gotta shake that spirit of doubt. ;)

K.C. said...

Man, I could FEEL the frustration just reading that and I wasn't even there! NO MORE WORKSHOPS! Total injustice.

Nah, for real, don't ever give up. I was inspired to go back to school for music because of Alicia Keys and I've tried and tried to win backstage or just meet her but it's so hard. But you inspired me to keep on keepin' on. Don't give up!

fuzzy said...

You left there gracefully! I woulda been trying to get in there until night fall! You betsta believe that one! When there is no written ANYTHING that says that I can't go, I woulda been yelling, sending emails out on my phone, complaining, making a scene until people heard where I was coming from!

Opinionated Diva said...


I can not believe they asked you if you want to take a picture with him...when they SHOULD have just told you the pictures are digitally enhanced to make it seem like you are together! All they really wanted was your information so they could sell you.

I also did not like how his speech tied in to Nation Wide insurance plans. Yeah they sponsored the event, but did he really have to say that Coretta didn't have enough money so ________ (I forget who) paid instead? It's hard for me to believe she didn't have the money to bury her husband though.

This paragraph, "The important thing on your tombstone is not the year you were born nor the year you die even, but its that dash in the middle that is the important part... that little dash, is the biggest thing of your life"...DEEP!!!

Suite B said...

I can't lie, when I first starting reading this I laughed a little after you said that Tavis was sexy because for me he just doesn't do it and always reminds me of like a big cousin but hey do you.

Man, I feel a littel sorry for you because I would have been pissed if that was me all dressed in the outfit that took some time picking out just to be rejected because I don't have some damn nationwide

Anonymous said...

"I asked the lady, where was Tavis. She said in the computer."

That made me laugh.

You will meet Tavis oneday. Believe that!

Darius T. Williams said...

Well alright for writing a novel. But yea, it sounds pretty bogus. But with events like this its super important to be sure to call and just double check the set up. The last thing I hate to have happen is to get somewhere and not get good enough instructions on stuff. So, consider it a small price to pay for a great lessob learned. But yea, its still kinda bogus that u didn't get to meet tavis though. Sorry Pa.

Nicole said...

I must apologize to you. I laughed sooo hard when you said that he in the computer. Baby I would have had to walk away from all of that, but you didn't give up. You go boy! Good luck next time.

Nario said...

Oh man lots of words, I have adhd so forgive me, I don't care for Tavis Smiley, but I'm glad you painted some good points, if I can remember them. Did I tell you about the time I cursed out Jesse Jackson ? lmao