Listen, we are in the middle of a pandemic. However, this has nothing to do with the COVID-19.
I’ve been an educator for 25 $%*& years. I’m thankful for that. However, have I lost my blackness? I’m correct in my speech so I go “in” and “out” of the ‘tude in my attitude in reading copy.
I have grown to love my coach. She tells and teaches it what “it” is.
For instance, I turned in a VO audition that needed a spoken poetry feel by an African American so I submitted.
After listening to it, my coach was able to pinpoint (God, what an ear) the little things that make the talent not sound authentic.
She can tell me what is wrong; however, it’s not something that a person should think about when doing copy. Either you sound authentic or you don’t.
I’m learning that maybe I have unlearned my natural blackness in speech to the point that I can’t retrieve it naturally in copy.
BTW, I’m unable to post anything about the ad. However, I just wanted to get on this platform right after my voice-over coaching session to pinpoint my frustration.
I’m glad to know this. Learn from the best. Thank God that I can switch myself to what it’s supposed to be. In other words, I can make adjustments extremely fast now. It takes practice and training. Hmmm. I’m unsure about a lot of things though at this point. I will just have to work on it and see what happens.
I can make the copy sound natural; however, my natural sassy reads are challenging. That bites my ass big time.
Dang, did I lose my blackness as an educator?!?
Listen, we are in the middle of a pandemic. However, this has nothing to do with the COVID-19.
Hello world! “Make America Great Again” said no person of color ever in any political election. If you read the writers including Frederick Douglass’ speech, “What to the slave is the 4th of July?” dated July 5, 1852 and Langston Hughes’ poem, “Let America Be America Again” in 1935, a person can assume that people of color have been treated unequal since the 1600s. In fact, we have. That sums up this article quite nicely. However, let’s dig deeper with more adjectives.
Let’s create the additions of being a female and a person of color in America. Digging deeper, let’s write about being a single middle-aged female without children whose a person of color that works as an educator defined in the 21st century online as “teaching is white collar credentials with blue collar pay. ” In fact, I work multiple jobs including education as a single homeowner. Most Americans support their households with multiple income streams besides their main career. There are times that the recent rebuke of #45 against four Democratic women in Congress who are people of color (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley to “go back” to their home countries if they don’t like it here) aggravate my nerves, then I allow the dissipation of my anger to subside since I’m one of a trillion plus on the planet earth who won’t allow a diminutive child control the emotions of a working adult with bills to pay.
We seem voiceless. It’s a harsh void that I move, work, and sleep as a woman of color. I’m a voice actor, singer, educator, and yet, I feel voiceless. I stay focused on what’s important to me: my family, my health, my work, and my rest. Mind you, a woman of color is mostly a single female of color. She lives alone while educated men of color avoid marrying educated women of color. Again, I’m not angry. Let’s remain happy and faithful to whom people we love. However, it’s the world that I’ve lived in for most of my adult life and deserves its own manuscript. We’ve been “angry” for centuries as my ancestor’s babies were ripped from their arms or wombs. At least, I believe that it’s asking too much of people of color to join in the cacophony of angry voices in a nation against a balding orange elder in a temporary executive office called the presidency. We’ve been using our voice and manuscripts for centuries. Wow, people actually heard us despite the numerous killing of people of color and teenagers by law enforcement? It took about four to five centuries for people to agree with people of color as a collective group in discussing racism and sexism with the #metoo movement in communities across the nation.
The change in my lifetime seems remote that racism, sexism, the ‘isms’ in America will formally diminish to equality. Surprised as people of color were when President Obama (eliminated his 44 number by name) was elected, I’m equally shocked upon reflection that number 45 shook President Obama’s hand once he was elected. Maybe #45 is not a racist. He’s colorblind except for the color green. Yet, the only thought worth remembering for me remains how people (not color) has removed their tinted glasses and see crystal clear the administration as a group. As a matter of fact, my protection would be to hide my voice so not to become a target of abuse, that’s what most Republicans have done except the following: Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23), Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06) who rebuked #45 against his statement.
We are living among familiar territory with strange twists in outcome. Hopefully, I will live to see the conclusion of these realities or “isms, ” write about them and share my talent about them without consequences. Prayers appreciated.
The abortion bill approved by Governor Kemp has the entertainment industry in Georgia at odds. I’m pro life. However, I support women’s choice so I support pro choice. However I did not march on Saturday, May 26, 2019 in downtown Atlanta for the anti-abortion bill. First, I had to work since I had to get a serving job to support myself due to many issues. I’m studying with Nancy Wolfson in voice-over who is a very expensive commercial coach in LA and the extra income supports payment for my coaching fees and my teaching job was extremely busy with performances which left me little time to market in voice-over this year.
However, it’s upsetting to see my fellow actor friends treated as nomads (part of the job?) to go where the jobs are even though they may have established roots in GA. I didn’t vote for Gov. Kemp or 45 (whose name I refuse to print). A part of me thinks that if married Caucasian women voted their conscience instead of voting along with their husband’s Republican ticket, people wouldn’t have to swallow the mess that we face now. However, I could be wrong. Maybe many women voted their conscience not just along with their spouses, just probably not enough.
However, a part of me thinks that companies who cater to children’s television shows would stay in the Southern states in support of children and families since that is their core base. Their decision to leave Georgia production for other areas may backfire on them even though another argument could be that they support women’s issues primarily as family issues since women determine the spending habits for their family in the home. It’s complicated.
Also, I would think that it would be bad business to establish studios in GA and leave due to the abortion bill since it’s expensive to build and establish a presence at any location. However, I was reminded that production companies may have more flexibility.
As an arts educator, I’m at a cross roads on the issue. We’ll see and time will tell what happens concerning the fallout of the abortion bill in GA.
Thanks for reading my take on this. Performers in Georgia will see and watch the outcome unfold here. Many thanks to the actors, legislation and our SAG-AFTRA in GA representatives in supporting tax incentives to bring jobs to Georgia.
Note: Since this post, Geter Voice Over Services, LLC has donated to the ACLU in support of keeping jobs in the state of Georgia. Time will tell how everything works out. We’ll see.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve written in my blog. I have decided that writing each month with nothing to say wasn’t satisfactory for me. When I did have something to say, it was really a personal reflection that may or may not have anything to do with the entertainment industry.
So, I have taken to write less and less. However, I want to take time to remember an important person that many people in my class at Northside School of the Arts have mentioned lately in the news, for instance, Erika Girardi aka Erika Jayne from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and RuPaul which are both graduates of Northside High School.
My story comes into view in the summer of 1988 when my parents and I were on vacation in Atlanta. My parents are from Newnan and Franklin, GA and we would come every summer on vacation. This summer, my dad was retiring from the military as Command Sergeant Major (CSM) with the 4×4 field artillery with 27 years of experience, and he was moving back home to Georgia from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.
I loved to audition and was taking voice lessons from Mrs. Doris Lambert from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma and piano from Yuki Walker from my hometown. I had an interest in drama and was in Bye Bye Birdie as Rosie in the 8th grade at Tomlinson Jr. High School. I had brought my 24 Italian Arias with me on vacation.
My dad was on the phone and mentioned to me that I needed to leave now for an audition at Northside School of the Arts. My dad, CSM (Ret) Artie C. Geter, had talked to his friend, Judge Clarence Thomas, and he said that I should audition for that school. Dad called the school and they were leaving for Europe that very day and I needed to get there now before they left for Europe to audition since we were leaving back to Oklahoma and wouldn’t get back in time to audition for enrollment.
We left in a hurry and I decided to sing two songs: “Alma del Core” by Antonio Caldara. I don’t remember the other song. I auditioned before Mr. Densmore and all the kids that were leaving for Europe in the chorus room that day. I got some hand claps from the kids and left. Later, I found out that I had gotten into the school.
This was the best thing that my dad had done for me. Later, I asked him why did he decide to retire before my senior year in high school since I was with my friends from kindergarten to junior year. I wanted my dad to apologize, but he refused. My dad refused to apologize for anything and said that this was the best thing that he could have done for me, and he was right.
I look back at this with acquaintances and friends from this school and hear about the great things we are still doing years later: Travis Payne, choreographer for Michael and Janet Jackson before MJ’s passing; Erika Girardi aka Erika Jayne who at 35 created her alter ego that would contribute to nine #1 hit singles and a stint on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Elaine Hendrix, actress in television and films including many wonderful professionals across the world.
I heart my friends back in Oklahoma including Will Shields, retired Guard for the Kansas City Chiefs who invited me to his induction into the Football Hall of Fame, and James Trapp (my high school crush) who earned the Super Bowl ring from the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and won a gold medal in the Olympics in 1993 for the 200 meter dash in 20.60 seconds including many friends from my hometown.
I had the best of both worlds: football players in choir in Oklahoma (Will Shields) and a great pre professional artistic experience at a high achieving performance arts school.
The last time that I saw Mr. Densmore was at my ten year class reunion in 1999 (yes, we partied to the song by Prince, RIP, especially me).
However, Mr. Densmore would say that he was going to die. Mr. Densmore contracted the HIV virus that causes AIDS. The ten year class reunion would be the last time that I would see him.
I did see Erika Girardi in a commercial flight from NYC with her mom and son who was about ten to twelve years old at the time with my parents returning to Georgia in 2005. I had graduated from NYU and we mentioned about life goals then. She was thinking about going back to school or doing something more with her life (of course, it wouldn’t be school but a music career); I would see Travis Payne at the 10 and 20 year class reunion and in the DVD of This Is It tour video before Michael Jackson died, RIP; I saw Elaine Hendrix in a play in 2010 while I was visiting and auditioning in voice overs, going to the VOICE convention in Beverly Hills and auditioning for film auditions at the time.
I now teach as a choral director and music educator at the DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts. The DeKalb School of the Arts and DESA will merge together as one school, P-12 as a performance magnet school in about five to seven years.
Mr. Billy Densmore, RIP, would be proud of his high achieving students. We remember and pay our tributes to him. I hope that he’s looking at us fondly. Mr. Densmore definitely had an influence on our lives. We contribute much of our training and success as a reflection today because of him.
Below is a clip that I came across approximately seven (7) years ago at my former school when I facilitated the Atlanta Opera at WES. Enjoy!