Thursday, July 18, 2024

You'll Be the Idol of Yourself

April 23, 2012

Inspirational speaker and NY Times best-selling author Debbie Ford and me when she stopped by one of our CHIC rehearsals last year

Yesterday, I arrived home from Japan at 5:00 PM and today I fly to London at 6:00 PM. I only came back to New York to meet with award winning theatrical/film/TV director Kenny Leon and NY Times best-selling author/filmmaker/inspirational speaker Debbie Ford. After an amazing run of concerts in Tokyo, it will be very wonderful to sit with these two geniuses of their respective disciplines.

I've worked with Kenny at the UN at what many diplomats called the best show they'd ever had. It was called Breaking the Silence Beating the Drum: The UN's International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I was the music director, Kenny was the director, and the program featured: Salif Keita, Whoopi Goldberg, Toumani Diabate, Izaline Calister, Akon and Peter Buffett, Blind Boys of Alabama, CCH Pounder, Gilberto Gil, Sarah Jones, Staceyann Chin, Phylicia Rashad, Passing Strange's Stew, and Ky-Mani Marley doing Redemption Song - (I had to kneel down to read the music because I couldn't see the notes in the dark.)

Down in Turks & Caicos, Debbie Ford eagerly listened while I read my memoir Le Freak to her daily. She reassured me that the book, which was the first thing I'd ever written longer than a few pages, was very, very good. It was difficult to talk about my lonely complicated life. I shared how I grew up feeling ugly, unwanted, and unloved because my teenaged mother was always abandoning me. She quoted, "By God, when you see your beauty, You'll Be the Idol of Yourself."


"Redemption Song" by Ky-Mani Marley and Nile Rodgers