I remember I was talking to this girl and the topic of music came up. I said I’m a fan of musicians like The Black Keys, Aerosmith, Coldplay, and etc. She looked at me with a confused look; not because she didn’t know the musicians, but because they were not rappers. She didn’t flat out say it, but I can tell she was very very surprised. Why is that? A black guy listening to music that is not rap! Stop the presses. Seriously! Stop the presses. The trees will thank you. Anyway, back to the topic/issue at hand. I asked her if she was surprised with my choice of music and she said it was unexpected, that’s all.

Now, different environment. I was in a cafe filming a documentary and this girl was on her computer. I got introduced to her through a mutual friend and we started talking. She said the minute she saw me she could tell I was the “alternative black guy.” So I asked her what she meant. Without trying to offend me she said Oreo, which she quickly apologized for. Hmm. What made me the alternative black guy? She didn’t flat out say why but she gave subtle notes. I wore my non baggy dockers pants around my waist. I spoke without using “slang” terms. I smiled a lot. I told her about my favorite musicians (read above). And we drank wine. That makes me sound like a square, right? Nope! That makes me the alternative black guy.

Was I offended by these two girls? Absolutely not! They were great. They just stated the obvious: I’m not the “typical” black guy. A friend of mine asked me for advice on how to make black (“urban”) films. I didn’t know what to say. Instead, I gave him film-making advice. I rarely write a film with a specific ethnic group in mind. 1). Limitations hinder creativity. 2). I wasn’t raised to think like that.

I’m proud to be black, but I’m even more proud to think and be different.

Oh yeah! They were both beautiful black ladies.

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