A Memorable Performance

Feb 27, 2020

Okay as a child in the Baptist church, my parents volunteered me constantly. This is the truth though. They are in charge. They would volunteer me to recite poems. Now, why would they know I would remember these poems? I don’t know. All I know whenever there is a special program in the Baptist church, Grace has to recite a poem. So of course I have to repeat it over and over at home because I don’t like to make mistakes, although I’m not perfect. So I think because of that, I never thought of it afterward. But once I got older I realized that that started me not on a journey, but it made me more willing to do, not a play, but a speech. And let me say what it is. So in college there’s a course called, not speech, they called it oral communications.

And the difference is you don’t just speak. They teach you how you’re going to speak on a topic, right. And you may never have to use this, but you may. So what they teach you is when you’re going to read, when you’re going to speak on a topic, you have to do it like a research paper. You have to actually investigate and learn everything about that topic. And there’s a reason I’m saying this is very brief. And so the other thing I learned and remembered was you have to be careful of the way you move your hands, all the movements. So what I did was when I had this oral communications class, I would practice in the mirror because you have to be very direct. You have to look into the audience because if you don’t speak or if you’re not enthusiastic about your topic, the people will fall asleep.

So the first thing is you have to be enthusiastic. You have to be very knowledgeable about your topic because they all going to ask you question. So the reason that was important to me, not that I thought I was going to speak in public because I’m a little shy, but I said just in case. So you have to prepare like if it’s a research paper, you have to know how to organize your speech.

Anyway, this prepared me for this speech on Dr. Martin Luther King because everybody had to choose somebody to be Graded. Everyone had to do a speech in class so that the professor can actually grade you. So I think that early experience with the poems helped a little bit. So now it excited me that I was able to choose whatever. And the reason I’m saying to you that I did Dr. Martin Luther King is because I was totally not in love with him, but his philosophy of equal justice for all. He has my philosophy that everybody is equal, that there’s just one human being that black, white, yellow, and Asian should be able to live together.

I’m not impressed by color either. I think I judge people by the way they treat each other and the way they treat me. So when I did the poem, why I’m saying this to you is I didn’t realize what I was doing. In other words, when I finished with a poem, I felt I was living that moment when he was speaking in Washington D.C. I felt everything he felt. And the reason for this is because I practiced just like I was supposed to. I practiced for days. And so the poem–I wasn’t him–but I could sense the meaning of each word.

So the professor said something to me. That’s why I said I had a lot of nerve. He said, “First of all, I’m surprised you pick that poem because that poem is well known.” I wasn’t thinking. Everyone is used to that poem being spoken in a certain way. So for you to pick that poem, if you didn’t do a good job, it would be a turnoff. But fortunately, he said, “Your version was pretty good.” So I was shocked. I got an A in that class.