Sunday, February 15, 2009

Divine Brown rocks the house in Belleville


I'm not usually a big Valentine's Day kind of guy. Once in a while I'll spring for some roses, but I subscribe to the school of thought that sees any day as a day to show that you love someone, and paying twice the going rate for flowers on one day of the year doesn't always mean as much as doing something thoughtful when it's not expected or demanded. For those who do ascribe some meaning to this day, and for those who are in relationships with them, for God's sake make the effort. It really doesn't take much to let someone know you love them, even if they create a little pressure for you to do so. Love really is one of the easier tasks we have in life. Off the soap box, and back to my story - my youngest sister, Marijo, sent me an email a couple of weeks ago asking if we'd like to join her and her boyfriend for a night out in Belleville. To be quite honest, I wasn't really paying attention when I agreed to the date, and so didn't know that I was agreeing to a Valentine's Day deal, and I also had no idea who the headliner, Divine Brown was, but I'm always open to trying something new, especially when it comes to live entertainment. Now as it turns out, this wasn't really something new for me. When I lived in Toronto back in the 80's I dated someone who took me to see some amazing black performers in some incredible, intimate venues. All a foggy haze now - I couldn't tell you who we went to see or where, but these memories definitely reside in that warm fuzzy (smoke filled/alcohol hazed) part of my brain. The show at the Empire Theatre in Belleville will fit quite nicely into that group of memories. Man, this woman can sing, and she got this crowd up on their feet clapping their hands and swinging their hips like nothing I've ever seen in Belleville before. We had a great time. As she said her good byes for the night she thanked Barack Obama for the audacity of hope as she brought the audience into the show in a "we believe" chant. Divine and her fellow entertainers, black and white, were absolutely incredible - full of love and rhythm and joy and energy. What ever possessed our ancestors to treat people of colour with anything but love and respect? When did the human race learn to hate? I guess it's the same old fear that drives us to back ourselves into a corner whenever we come up against something that we haven't seen before or that we don't understand. Thank God for Divine Brown, Barack Obama, and rhythm and blues. Amen!

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