Like most Americans I get my life lesson and advice from popular culture. This past Sunday, I was watching “The Wiz” and I was struck by the realness of the message. So please indulge me for a bit as I talk a little bit about what I learn from “The Wiz”.
Most people are familiar with the story of “The Wiz”, the African-American version of the beloved classic American film “The Wizard of Oz”. “The Wiz” was first produced on Broadway in 1975. The 1970’s was the height of the Black Power Movement, “Black is Beautiful” and everybody (that was hip) was rocking the Afro. Blacks were nappy and happy! A time when even Michael Jackson rocked the dark skin and fro. As African-Americans / Blacks (or whatever was the politically correct term at that time) begun to embraced their blackness the only logical thing to do was to throw some “blackness” on a white classic. Of course, this is the antithesis of Afro centrism. Why redo a “white” American classic when you can just do a completely original Black show? I guess Broadway and Hollywood wasn’t ready for “Medea’s Family Reunion” or “Medea goes to Jail” in 1975. Back to the point, “The Wiz” was highly successful on Broadway, winning two Tony awards. It brought a little uptown Harlem flair to the downtown audiences. Allowing the upper crest of white America to be entertained by an all black cast that they would never associate with in public unless to prove there liberalism. While the film was a favorite in the black community, it wasn’t as commercially successful as it staged counterpart or the original “Wizard of Oz”.
My Quick Synopsis: Dorothy and her dog Todo gets lost. Ends up far away from her Harlem home. Kills a witch and get some fly silver shoes. Goes to find the Wiz for help going home. Along the way she picks up some friends who are lacking/ looking for something as well. Tin man needs a heart, the Scarecrow needs a brain, and the Lion needs Courage. The foursome journey on the yellow brick road to see the Wiz and get their wishes granted. After some difficulties getting to the Emerald City, they met the Wiz. He sends them on a near impossible assignment, they succeed. Come back; figure out that Wiz is a fake! Disappointed, because how are they going to get their wishes granted now?
This is where the lesson/ sermon come into play. Dorothy shows her friends that they have always had what they have been looking for inside themselves.
While Dorothy did such a good job explaining to her friends the beauty they had within them, she failed to realize the power she had inside of her. “If You Believe” performed by Glinda the good witch reminded her that “No one can change the path that you must go, believe what you feel, know that you are right because the time will come around when you say it’s yours. Believe in yourself right from the start, Believe in the magic that’s in your heart”.
As I was watching the film on Sunday those words really resonated in my soul, yes I have a soul. I was spending too much time trying to convince people of the plan, mostly because I wasn’t totally convinced myself. There are times when you have to stop doing things just because it’s what’s expected and follow whatever dreams that’s in your heart. If God/ The Supreme Deity/ Allah/ Buddah/ Oprah /whoever planted it inside you, it’s there for a reason so until we really believe we can achieve our dreams it will never manifest itself into being. It’s easily to forget how much confidence and just having faith can contribute to success. I can get anyone I want, not because I am so attractive (but I am), intelligent (I’m the smartest person I know), charming (have you seen my smile) or funny (I am occasionally) but because I am so confident I can pull most anyone. When I approach someone it’s already ingrained in my head that they want me bad, the belief is so strong they believe it too! Don’t believe me? As you read this you are having an incredible urge to call me and express your undying love and adoration for me. It’s ok, you don’t have to call. I already know! My task now is to use this same confidence and belief in myself I use in my pimp game to achieve my dreams and ultimately success as I define it.
And that was just from “When you believe”, I have about another 13 pages on how “Home” impacted my vision for the future and for myself. But I won’t bore you with that.
I can barely remember the sermon the pastor preached on Sunday, but the message that I am applying to my life this week is coming from “The Wiz”.
So Tabians, Ease on down the road and don’t you carry anything that might be a load, don’t let nobody bring you no bad news and just believe in yourself, you are a lion the greatest one of them all (next to me).