Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wanna learn a Lil' Mo?

Wanna See A Lil' Mo?

I've worked in this Hollywood entertainment industry nearly five years now, and sometimes I'm still amazed at the fact that I work with people that often grace magazine covers. Recently, while browsing the magazine rack at Target, I noticed R&B singer, Lil'Mo, and her husband on the cover of Sister 2 Sister magazine. That alone let me know there was going to be some controversy either about her or about them as a couple. I read the headline, and left the magazine right on the shelf. Truthfully, I didn't want to know what drama they had experienced that was worthy of the cover of the quasi-gossip magazine. Not that I'm above being curious or down right nosy in some cases, but this time I just wasn't interested.

Seeing her picture reminded me of my BET Celebration of Gospel experience. While working the show back in January, I had gotten to know the couple just a little. Both of them were quite friendly. Upon meeting Mo', I instantly realized she made even my 5ft 2 inched frame seem tall. For me, to be taller than anything other than a child is a rarity and a joy. As a talent assistant, it was my job to be their liaison with production. If Mo' needed anything, especially anything relevant to her performance or the show in general, it was my job to supply it. However, most special needs are arranged for in advance. She nor her husband had no "diva-esque" demands. My other important job, is to keep them on schedule. Rehearsals are very important. As talent assist, it was my job to ensure Mo' got to stage on time for a run-through and camera blocking. Her, Coco from SWV, KiKi Sheard, and Fantasia were there to sing "Endow Me" from CoCo's new album. Being able to watch rehearsals was definitely a spiritual and musical perk. All of them can SANG! Just from watching the practice you knew somebody's grandmama in the audience was going to lose her church hat getting her shout on. But even in rehearsal, I knew they were holding back. Many artists don't give it their all in rehearsal, they wait until the camera's are rolling. They also like to feed off the real audience. The crowd around the stage during the rehearsal is minimal and scattered with members of entourages. These folk are generally no longer impressed cause they've seen their client peform ad nauseum. Not to mention, they're usually on phones setting up the next gig or in some cases perpetrating.

Overall, it was a good show and a really long day. From 9am until 11pm I was on my feet. The job of talent assistant requires lots of standing, walking, patience, common sense, and most importantly, a comfortable pair of shoes. The best part of the job, to me, is getting to see the stars before their shine is made viewable to the public. It's easy to forget that celebs are people too. They don't descend from the heavens nor walk on water without help of a green screen and special effects editing. However, that doesn't mean they aren't worthy of special treatment. Most of them are, within reason. You have to give respect where respect is due. Mo' arrived to the show covered from head to toe. It was untypically cold that day and she was prepared. Once her hair and make up fairy godfathers arrived, it took about an hour for her to get ready for the red carpet. The transformation was utterly amazing. The woman that entered the trailer bundled in a cape and hat looked nothing like the bombshell that left it in a black suit that hugged every curve and sexy black pumps. Make-up and hair, absolutely flawless. Even her limo driver did a double take. Dude literally had to pick up his chin and put his eyes back in his head. After several remarks about how sexy she now appeared, I couldn't resist telling him that her husband probably thought the same and might be along for the ride to the carpet. It was the first time, "Celebration of Gospel" had red carpet arrivals. With the Orpheum theater's marquee all aglow it really appeared a major Hollywood event was taking place. Hollywood glitz and gospel royalty looked really good together. After 'Mo took pictures and answered several questions, I led her back to her trailer to "hurry up and wait" for her performance. It was a long wait because "Endow Me" was scheduled near the end of the show. Luckily, she was able to see some of the show before being called backstage. Of course, she and the other ladies sang their faces off. Then, after the peformance there was still one more stop to make--the press room. Gospel shows from around the country were set up in one big room for interviews with show participants. After several one-camera interviews and a press conference Q&A, Mo's "Celebration of Gospel" experience was over. I led her and small entourage back to the trailer and called for her limo. After saying goodbyes to everyone and seeing them to their waiting car, my long day was officially a wrap.


All that was two ago so seeing 'Mo on the cover reminded me of this: being in the public eye all the damn time is a major sacrifice in order to do what you love doing. Personally, I like anonymity. Not that I don't want to be recognized when deemed necessary; recognition has its place in feeding an ego. But I would not want to have to be "on" every time I'm out in public.
I'm content observing the Hollywood life most often from a distance. Still, nothing is better than seeing a show backstage or playing a role in bringing it to an appreciative audience. I'm so used to working behind the scenes now, sometimes I can't even watch a concert or live event without wondering what's going on backstage.

So, for those of you closely checking the pictures, yes, that is Lil' Mo and the Hallelu-er man himself, Tyler Perry, on the red carpet. And although, he could probably use the top of my head as an elbow rest, I'll gladly stand my little ass next to Tyler Perry anytime, I ain't lyin', I ain't lyin'!

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