Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I went down to Texas a number of times last year to help get my Dad situated with proper health care.  As a part of the clean-up of his home, I found the cap (called a kufi) for my Dad's dashiki outfit from my his illustrious "black empowerment" phase (that's another episode in my one-man show that'll be expanded on later this year).  I decided to bring it home as part of the "booty" I put aside during the cleaning process.  I just happened to run across it when I was looking for my black hat to wear to rehearsal.  I took it with me and sported it once I parked my car in Chicago.

I was in Old Town for a rehearsal and decided to test out the head gear.  The temperatures were low enough that having something to keep my dome warm is a good thing.  Since Old Town is right by the lake, it features even colder and more brutal winds that just suck the moisture out of your skin during  the winter.  I had to keep the moisture in, son!

I started walking down the street and noticed people looking at me "oddly".  Granted, I know my Malcolm X-ish good looks normally get people to look at me strangely; however, I was getting more "thoughtful" stares from people - as if people were a little disturbed by the look.

Cool!  I be scarin' the white people in Old Town!

I then noticed when sharing the sidewalk people would give me a little bit more room to make my way. YES!  I've got a persona going.  I underestimated just how powerful the kufi was.  Here I am figuring out whether or not I would be able to rock one of these on stage and little did I know that this piece by itself can move people! At this point, I felt empowered to strut as I walked down the street and purposely engage people in direct eye contact to see their reactions.  I got a lot of nervous smiles.

Once I got into the building, I took off my magical intimidation cap and became just a mere mortal again. I went to rehearsal and shared my experience with my colleagues.  We got a pretty big giggle out of it and saw the comedic gold behind the encounter.

We finished up rehearsal and I decided to sport it again to continue my guilty pleasure.  As we're walking out, I spot this other gentleman sporting a kufi!  He spotted me and for a moment he smiled, looked up as he was going to say something to me, and then backed off once he spotted more people coming.  It was as if he was about to say, "YES! THERE ARE MORE LIKE ME!"  I gave hima nod and said, "What up my brotha" and headed out of the training center.  The others were right behind me and kept their mouths shut until after we were in the lobby.  We then all started giggling and gossiping about just how cool that exchange was.  We couldn't have written it!  It looked like he was signing up his daughter that day for classes. Someone said, "I bet you he was like, 'It's cool.  You can go ahead and take classes here, sweetie.'" after seeing me walk through.

I don't plan on making this kufi a staple of my wardrobe but cot damn is it effective.  Can't wait to tell the story behind this powerful garment!


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