This black history month, I would like to celebrate the second coming of Christ. Or as modern historians would call it, “Beyonce”. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter was born September 4th, 1981 but today I don’t want to talk about the woman. I want to talk about the idea. While many of us seek success, Beyonce represents the embodiment of perfection. She is the dream of every struggling artist. She is the hope of every black mother for their child. She is at once a reminder of time lost and a hope for victories to come. At a time where black women are constantly and consistently undervalued (the slight of “I may destroy you” is still fresh and bitter), Beyonce represents what can happen when one of us ascends. Beyonce is for all intents and purposes, “the main character”.
Where were you when it occurred to you that you weren’t in fact the main character? I remember where I was. I had just gone home for the holidays to a large family gathering. I came in to the family house, flushed and complaining about my latest in a long line of “nearly there” auditions that exists in every working actor’s memory. About 15 minutes into my tale of woe, one of my cousins arrived. He came with his new wife and baby, both happy and aglow with that smell of fresh infant. My mother took one look at that glowing sign of family lineage continuance and it was as if I had disappeared. Dropped off the face of the earth. I was hurt. I was horrified. I struggled to quantify and identify my feelings. It wasn’t until later, when I laid in bed that I realized… I had been “Kelly Rowland’d”. In direct contrast to my cousin’s success, I had found myself lacking.
One of the things that the pandemic of 2020 taught me was perspective. Coming out of January, I had just booked a big project that was destined to take my career to new heights. In direct contrast, I had about $200 in my account, a ridiculous case of the flu that just wouldn’t quit and I was incredibly single. Then came March. That project? Gone. The one thing that I had built my measure of self around was indefinitely on hold. At the height of this pandemic, I would lay in my bed twenty three out of the twenty four hours in the day with the curtains closed. I am a pretty hopeful and optimistic person but the first time in my life, I was depressed. I could not imagine how things could bottom out any further. Cut off from friends, family and alone in my grief of the opportunities lost the days just blurred together. The thing that shook me out of my lethargy? In June, I was admitted to hospital for a burst appendix. Suddenly, I was sharply aware. I had worked months to avoid the hospital, only to end up there anyway. It was then I realized that, it wasn’t Covid19 oppressing me. It was me. I was allowing the pandemic and all of its pressures to overwhelm me. As soon as I was released from the hospital, I began to move. I started taking daily walks from Astoria all the way to Harlem. I made myself mask up and go get the groceries. I went on the roof and read. I started answering those emails that had begun to pile up. Six months later, I’ve managed to raise my credit score, save more money than ever before, buy a house and am… less single. I was… you guessed it… a survivor.
When I was a kid, my mother used to say “your left foot doesn’t worry about the right. It just keeps moving.” That piece of wisdom has never been more important. There are going to be times in your life where it seems like the odds are insurmountable. When you’re not sure where your next breakthrough will come from. When you will get the vaccine… whatever. But if you just keep moving, keep living, keep ahold of yourself, things will get better. Because at the end of the day… you are beautiful. You are the main character. You are Beyonce.
Grant Evan is an alumni of Long Island University, theatre concentration. He desperately misses being on stage. He currently resides in Astoria, NY. He’s not a man of many words but half of them are expletives