For Kelly’s party, I thought of bowling because I remembered a conversation Kelly and I had a while ago that she was a part of an entertainment bowling league and I thought that could be super cute gathering where she can have fun and be sociable at the same time.
I came up with the concept for Black Hollywood because I have a huge infatuation with old Hollywood, classic films, and the renaissance era. I’m perturbed with the state of black Hollywood’s depictions in TV and films in 2012. I wanted to integrate the class, sophistication, respect, and style of old Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s with current Hollywood faces. Then I decided I wanted to tribute this book to the talented actors of color who often get type-cast or underrated, and portray us all in that classic Hollywood way. I want to show that people of color are not only housemaids, slaves, hookers, crooks and deviants.
It wasn’t awkward at all when I was talking to Eva about Lance being in my book. Although Eva and Lance have history and she’s my friend, this is business and I have my own personal work relationship with Lance. Eva knows and respects this and to know Eva is to know she’s all about making that coin and so I knew she wouldn’t prevent me from doing something like this book whether Lance was in it or not. I wasn’t asking her permission to do it since I created this concept prior to their break up and he already said yes. I was actually doing the right thing and being courteous by having the discussion with her as opposed to her popping up one day, checking on me, and it happens to be the day I’m shooting Lance.
When I heard the trial was pushed back again, at that point it had already been pushed three times already and last year, I didn’t celebrate my birthday at all (my brother died a month before my birthday). I had just had a talk with my family and friends and finally was okay with the idea of celebrating my life and another year despite my guilt and feeling that I can no longer celebrate my brother’s birthday. The irony that the new trial date landed on my birthday wasn’t the hard pill to swallow. It was the fifty percent possibility of either the greatest victory ever, with a great sentencing in favor of my family, or it could be the worst birthday ever by getting the worst sentencing and breaking my family’s heart again. We as a family, and me as an individual, will never have closure over a senseless and violent murder like this loss we’ve endured, but to know this person won’t hurt anyone else in any form or fashion would make us feel that my brother’s death was not in complete vain. To know if we will feel safe walking the streets of the neighborhood we grew up in with him behind bars forever vs. the scary feeling we may randomly bump into him at the grocery store in a year is the stress we battle daily until the verdict.
My brother was my childhood playmate, we were only a year apart so he was just like my twin. He was all I’ve ever known and my best friend. The only person who knew me inside out, supported me, protected me, and loved me like no other (outside of my parents and sister.) A part of everything I am and have ever known is gone and I feel very alone in this world without him. Growing up, we didn’t know anyone else who looked like us, so we could only relate to each other. I lost my baby brother, my best friend, my confidant, my party mate, my jester, my shoulder, my everything. I haven’t learned to cope with his absence yet, there are times where I’m still in denial until I reach for my phone to call him. I’ve buried myself deep into working and taking care of everyone else to try not thinking about him all the time but it makes it worse. It puts me in positions and situations that remind me of him more. It’s harder for me to acknowledge him in the past tense than it is to do anything else in my life right now.
Everything about life without my brother is hard but the hardest part is looking into his children's eyes and not knowing what to do or say when they ask why this happened or say they miss him so much! He was a great father and his babies love him so much. It’s so hard watching my mom’s heart break every day she doesn’t get a call from him or get to see him daily like she used to and hearing her cry in her sleep. It’s also hard watching my dad try and be strong for all of us when I know all he wants to do is cry and be comforted because his only son is gone. For me, looking at the pictures from my sister’s wedding, and seeing him as a part of the wedding and dancing with her and knowing that I never will be able to have that, that my kids will never know their amazing uncle the way my sisters kids did, is really difficult for me. The hardest part is EVERYTHING life has for me that I cannot ever share with him good and bad! All I can do is make sure his kids know he loved them, keep them talking about him so as they get older they don’t forget their memories as many kids do eventually. Let the world know he wasn’t a saint but he was close to one when he died, and he did everything he could for everyone! I would love to establish a foundation or organization against bullying and violence in his honor and name, because his death was nothing but an extreme violent case of senseless bullying.
I’ve been in Los Angeles alone with no family for ten years and recently not having my ex to comfort me in my time of hurt, Eva and Kelly’s comfort meant everything to me! I deal with a lot of stress, pressure, and weight of the world daily and I’m always the shoulder and ear for everyone else, so it was such a comfort to finally be able to not have to be strong for everyone else and release my feelings.
Kelly was definitely surprised and happy with everything from the birthday outfit to the intimate guest list we carefully selected for her, the party favors and decorations, the cake, and the presents. I know Kelly was in birthday heaven and I was happy Eva and I pulled it off without a hitch, well I think it was a hit until Eva’s surprise. Eva can be a little pushy about the things she wants and the things she wants for her friends. Her intention with Kelly and Baga wasn’t bad, but it definitely made Kelly a little uncomfortable.