This post is about to be heavy. Yesterday I came in contact with a wave of emotions and based on those events, I’m not sure if I should be upset with myself, or (Japanese) society.
A few days before some of the other Black Professional musicians said they I needed more pictures and even suggested that I put on a wig for the shots. I’ve heard this before as well but as a natural you just don’t want to have to believe that. They told me that in Japan it doesn’t really matter if you have talent
coughAKB48cough, but its all about how glamours you look on stage. In the end I was told that Japanese people just want something pretty to look at. So even if I do work on my voice to get some training… in the end it wont even matter. I’m Black so I’m expected to sing well… mehh i dunno.
Anyone who has known me for a while knows that I’m not big on make up. I could care less and honestly don’t like spending money on such things. But for the sake of this business I’ve decided to girl up and have a friend teach me how to use it. Just for stage and photo shoots though.
Yesterday we had a show but this time it was only the girls and we were singing R&B and soul. We actually hadn’t prepared for it at all because we just never had time to meet up. It was really ぎりぎり(cutting it close) to the point where we were changing the keys of the songs 2 hrs before the show. We decided to go with a theme kind of like The Supremes. Got some cheap dresses and well… we had to get wigs.
Since I knew I would eventually have to invest in it. I got one after our sound check. My friend suggested that I wear it out of the store so that I could get used to it. And thats when it started.
I’m a very quite person when I first meet people. And I very rarely get approached on the streets of Tokyo (with the exception of random Africans hustling in Roppongi or Shibuya) But when I was walking down the street I felt something different. It wasn’t the usual “Oh its a foreigner and she’s black” stare but this one was different. I can’t really explain it but it was completely different to the point where I think a few people did double takes and one guy fully turned around. While we were waiting at the cross walk a foreign guy said Hi to me. I was taken by surprise because unless we went to TUJ I never get anything said to me on the streets of Shibuya by a foreign guy. From his gestures I could tell that he wanted to talk more but we were walking in a different direction to go get the MP3s for the show. Another foreign guy said “Hello!” in a very loud voice while we walked by. So maybe I sound stupid but honestly. I have never gotten that kind of attention before. This is different for me. But what gets me the most is that I was just walking down the same street 1 hr ago without a long flowing wig… what happened?
When we returned to the apartment a Japanese male friend was waiting for us. The both of us were wearing wigs and he had never seen us like that before. In fact when I first met him I was picking my twist outs to make an Afro and he really liked it. Anyway he was shocked but said he “really like it” and that it was “pretty”. English isn’t his first language so I understand the lack of vocabulary because it would happen to me in Japanese.
After we returned my friend suggested putting on the lashes and stage make up by myself to get some practice. I did just that.. maybe not well but when I came out our male friend said somethings. “woah!! Jessica すごい！its so pretty. I can’t believe it.” he kept going after a while “Looks like real American girl!” ….
What can I say to that? How do I react? He saw me with my natural hair, the rest of the girls in the room are Black. We don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes.. but what’s a real American girl? I’m not sure… I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say. But he was so excited at the change and then my friend commented “see? now go find your self a boyfriend” ….
I’ve been single for roughly 3 years.. the same amount of time since I chopped off all my hair and went natural. Is it really this? My natural hair thats hindering me? from the Entertainment industry? from sex appeal? If I do meet a guy wearing that wig one day and he sees me with no make up and an Afro the next day will he still be interested? How is this going to work?
I once made a post about how I went to an interview at a bar and the Japanese girl said “Your hair is cute but its a bit weird for Japanese so please wear a wig” I’m wondering if this is really how it works here. I have to be skinny to please? My hair has to be straight so its not “so weird” ? Can I be ashamed of myself for being Born this Way? no of course not! I’m not supposed to be. But am I supposed to be mad at Japanese society? Am I supposed to be upset at the media putting pressure on Black women to perm their hair and wear weaves? I mean thats all they ever see on TV in Japan. Beyonce strutting that front lace.
As you can tell. It’s really confusing for me. But then at the end of the day its しょうがない as well. “It can’t be helped” because thats what the Japanese people want.
*note: While writing this post I got a phone call saying that I’m losing money because I’m not moving fast enough with my image. A combination of taking pictures with the wig, eyelashes, and something to hide my stomach. She said the job is lip syncing so it doesn’t even matter if I can sing… its all about the image.