Originally Performed - November 12, 2017
Speech Written to Perform
Explanation - Shades of Mahogany is a Black Male UT Scholarship Pageant I participated and placed 3rd in. The competition was held on my birthday by coincidence. The other contestants and I prepared for months to perform in a traditional pageant format. This is a replication of my 2-minute introduction. I later re-purposed the Atlas Metaphor for a subsequent poem. The speech was not recorded.
*Walk onto stage to Black Man In a White World (Ghetto Gettysburg Address)*
They say that I am a man of extravagance. I don’t know; I don't really see it. *Flourish Scarf*
What I do see is a contradiction in my passion. On the one hand, you have a devotion to combating institutional racism- on the other you have comedy.
Now - I’ve been around 20 years to the day. Wanting to do right by my people, push the needle forward - it is hard, it is bleak, and it is scary. We were only made to take on so much suffering and generational trauma. It feels like as Black people we have to shoulder the burden of Atlas even though the light from that very sky that we uphold still shines through the gunshots that decorate our bodies. When it comes down to it, I am the son of a lineage that was brought here in chains. There was a time when I fancied myself to be the next Dr. King or Malcolm X. But so quickly did the vision begin to unravel when faced with the true cruelty of our nation’s history. In this draining task of committing to social progress, emotionally, I have stumbled, and I have fallen. But I refuse to stay down.
My resolve is to take those chains, that bound my ancestors, and wrap them around this fist of mine. Because, In a fight you need weapons, and I have armed myself with my words and my wit. When it comes down to it, I am also the son of an immigrant from Romblon who was brought here for better opportunity. I am a Black Filipino American. The shame and pride of this country is embedded in my bones. There was no better place than the contradiction that is America, to help me realize that tears from pain and tears from laughter come from the same source. I can use the totality of my passion, both the serious and comedic, and etch my own path forward.
Along this path, I am studying to become a journalist, with the aim of having a program similar to John Oliver. Elucidating societal problems and providing comfort through comedy along the way. And here I stand before you, Not to be the next Doctor King, The Next Malcolm X or even The Next John Oliver, but the first - Jade Fabello, your contestant #1. It’d be my honor to be your 2017 Mr. Shades of Mahogany.