“…When you sing before him don’t you worry, you’ll be good enough.”
–Kevin Costner on Whitney Houston singing before God
I watched Whitney Houston’s funeral off and on yesterday, and like all of the TV journalists commentating, I was very taken with how homegrown it was. It was very inspiring, especially Costner’s eulogy along with the stories BeBe Winans told.
I don’t know who said it first, probably CNN anchor Don Lemon, but Houston’s funeral illuminated the African American church experience for many white Americans who may have never before stepped foot in a Black church. Lemon also predicted a spike in church attendance today.
This uptown urban chicken couple was taking a stroll near Lincoln and NE 36th Street. The rooster is the one with the bigger feathers.
This morning, I decided to go poke around the northeast side of Oklahoma City, which is predominantly Black. There are probably two-dozen African American churches between Kelley Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard (running north and south) and NE 16th and NE 50th Streets (running east and west). All of the church parking lots were packed. Over the years, I’ve visited many of them. The services are long and many of the women still dress up in pretty suits and dresses and some wear hats. I love the way African Americans do church.
This is the owner of the chickens. I stopped and talked to him about Whitney Houston. We agreed, her death was very sad. I ask people all the time if I can take their picture. They almost always look at me like I’ve fallen off a turnip truck and then they bark, “No.” When I asked this man, he humbly, but definitively said, “Yes.” Then he posed, and we shared an understanding: my subject was very interesting. He told me he’s lived in this house for more than 40 years and I’m the first person to take his picture.
I ordered baked chicken and macaroni and cheese and the most divine greens on the planet. I also had a piece of cornbread. Mmm, the kind made with cornmeal, flour and sugar. Yum-o.
Robert had Mama E’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes (or yams). Oh, my gosh, it was all slow cooked to perfection. I have lived in Oklahoma City for 25 years and I’ve eaten every kind of food available from the most expensive restaurants to the most heralded dives. Mama E’s has the best food of all. It’s located off NE 36th Street on Springlake Drive. If you go, write “jenx67.com sent me here.” Ha! (There’s also a second location, 900 West Reno, Mama E’s Wings and Waffles.)
Oklahoma’s population is so small (3.5 million or so) we’re almost all OKLAHOMIES and certainly forward thinkers!
I hadn’t planned to go on a graffiti adventure, it just kind of happened as this railroad track separates the east and west sides of Oklahoma City. I love the message: Forward Thinking OKLAHOMIES. In case you’ve been living under a rock, homie is a slang term in urban culture whose origins etymologists generally trace to African American language from the late 19th century.
Finally, Mark Twain who said many great things said this and it inspires me to keep digging for Oklahoma City’s social artifacts: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it solely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”