The Beyoncé of Tianjin

If you have heard me describe my travels in China, I may have said that I was the “Beyoncé of China” a time or two…..or more, heck who wouldn’t want to be Beyoncé, right? The reason why I felt that way is because being a black girl in China I have been the recipient of many almost paparrazzi-like attacks and secret photographs. If one person on the street gets brave enough to ask for a photo, others all around want to jump in as well, therefore the impromptu photo shoots commence.

One of the stereotypes about black girls in China are that we can sing and dance. I hate fulfilling stereotypes but I was on the dance team all throughout college, and I am no Beyoncé, but I can find the beat and melodies of songs in karaoke (to my Chinese friends delight). Being the diva that I am I love karaoke, I sing both Chinese and English songs, well apparently that qualifies me to sing for a TV broadcast award ceremony. I mentioned before that I got a call from a producer named Guo Yue to perform on Monday. I had no information other than the song I picked, and the fact that I would be picked up at the school entrance at 4:30pm. The entire day workers from the TV station were calling me to make sure I remembered, was prepared, and knew the make and model of the car picking me up, a bit over the top but the sentiment was appreciated.

I skipped class for the first time that day….I know it’s a horrible thing to do, and I regretted it big time the next day during our weekly quiz, but you live and learn. Anyways, I walked out and met a worker as he escorted me back to the company car. We then proceeded to Tianjin Normal University to pick up the other foreign singer for the show. Her name is Ruth, the girl turns out to be from Kenya, and she has lived in China for five years, as an undergraduate and now as a graduate student. Her Chinese is very impressive and she was really nice and open to conversation the entire ride to Tianjin TV Station. Once there, we were given waters and placed in one of the VIP rooms. After a few minutes we went to meet the last foreigner (a woman named Danita from California…guess what, she was black too!) and to practice our song. They confused us for a moment, saying we were singing a song together, obviously we had just met that day, so how were we to sing a song together? They straightened themselves out and instead our 3 songs were melded together, I sang half of my song, Rainie Love by Rainie Yang, Danita sang half of hers, then Ruth finished with her half. Danita’s song was a very soulful song that I wish I got the name of at this point, Ruth’s was a very traditional song by a Tibetan artist, they both are amazing singers. Going back to the room for lunch we had hours to kill so we spent the whole time joking around, sharing experiences, and eating the lunches provided by the station.

Ruth is actually a paid singer in China, she was on the most watched television program in the world (which basically means every Chinese person in China and abroad watches it….you can see how it means it’s the most watched with those numbers), the Chinese New Year Gala on CCTV. Anyone who performs on that is guaranteed instant fame. She is engaged to a VERY handsome Chinese guy who lives in Beijing, I was excited to hear that because I want to go see a Chinese wedding so badly, I can’t wait to go. It’s a perfect way to see one because I won’t stand out as the only black guest, right? 😉

Danita is here in China accompanying her engineer husband from America (he’s black as well). She fell into a singing career in Tianjin by accident, she won a singing competition (she said she didn’t even know it was a competition per se, haha) and from there has been getting calls and been on numerous programs and TV shows. She looks so young that I would have never guessed she has kids in their twenties, she can’t speak Chinese so she had a translator there as well. Though Ruth and I helped with a lot of translations that night, a very funny experience. I sympathized with her because China has to be one of the least foriegn friendly, first world country, when it comes to speaking english I mean….I can’t imagine it. She’s in good humor though, she joined a group of expat housewives and is making a living out here, she;s expecting to be here for at least another two years. Her husband is such a sweet heart, he just got back from a business trip in Singapore, literally dropped his bags at their home, and took an hour worth of cabs to the TV station, just to watch her sing and record it. (Where is that type of guy in my life?!)

Finally at 8:45 it was time for our act, I was so nervous but both girls kept calming me down, my main concern was forgetting my recently learned lyrics and/or singing off-key, out of us three I was the only unprofessional one. Nonetheless, I pulled myself to gether and had fun singing, the lights were so bright I couldn’t see the crowd well anyways. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to keep in touch, which I will make sure of because they are awesome women, and I’m pretty sure all of Tianjin will assume we are The Supremes or something 🙂

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. eccentricyoruba
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 13:46:43

    It sounds like you had a really great time. I think it is awesome that you got to sing with, and meet, other Black women living in China. Will your performance be available online? I am interested in seeing/hearing Ruth sing the Tibetan traditional song.

    Reply

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