A story written by Jakemond… If you missed part Thirty Nine, read it HERE
have to go now..will post upon return–depending if need to drive up to Phillei tonight..yes to see my mom and attend church on sunday. not to forget, eat ukasi soup too.
speak of how they feel about black people’s racist attitude toward them. Ultimately, every human being has freedom of expression. As a black man, I also have the right to choose what race I want to associate with, though it may not be right. I could choose to be racist toward people of other races. So why don’t you stop whites, Chinese, and Indians, and ask them how they feel when a black person such as myself makes racist comments against them?” With that, I walked off.
Meanwhile, Maria Joana never insinuated that she didn’t want me in her place. We were living together as a couple and might as well have been married. At the time, although I hadn’t realized it, she was doing a lot for us. She went to work early in the morning and came back late and tired, but I would still expect her to cook for us. I never tried to help her in any way. The only things I did in the apartment were to clean the living room, make the bed when I woke up, and walk the dog; she did everything else. On top of that, she tried to make sure I was happy. Whenever I needed money, she gave some to me. I never showed her gratitude, though, and kept seeing other girls, sometimes socially, other times intimately. I didn’t see a reason to be faithful. I was young with high testosterone, and girls found me attractive. Spain had a fairly open attitude toward s*x, and casual s*x was the order of the day during this time. Still, though the other girlfriends I had were closer to my age and shared the same social interests, there wasn’t enough reason to leave Maria Joana.
Sometimes, just to help me relax from the stress of not having a job, she would take me camping on weekends. Sometimes we would go to Montserrat mountain, and other weekends we would drive up to the Pyrenees mountains by the border between Spain and France. We would camp up there for two days, enjoying the abundant natural beauty. We would leave her car at the base of the mountain and climb several hours to the highest point, where we would pitch our tent. The view from there was magnificent. There were waterfalls and many natural pools up in the mountains, and we would bathe there and then lie down for hours to read. The rest of the time we walked around the mountains exploring, eating, and sleeping. I always looked forward to these trips because after each one, I felt relaxed and refreshed.
My joblessness continued until one day, when I remembered that one of my clients at John’s shop suggested I try modeling. Indeed, a number of my clients at John’s shop were models. This guy believed I had the looks and personality to become a model. He had given me some contacts, so I decided to explore this option. I went to several agencies; each one interviewed me and thought that I had potential. They asked me to do a composite, a special photo album. When I got home that day, I told Maria Joana about the modeling idea. Fortunately, she had a degree in photography. She even had a darkroom in our apartment with all sorts of equipment and expensive cameras. Within days we had taken different pictures of me in different poses, outfits, and locations. It was very well done and the images were phenomenal. I looked like a professional model, like I had been doing it for years. With the composite completed, I started hitting up the agencies again. This time it was easier because I had my photographs.
My first job was modeling for a watch. It didn’t pay much, but it was a start. I was encouraged and kept going from one agency to another. Next, I was called by one of the agencies, but to my surprise, they didn’t call me for a modeling job. They wanted me to be a stagehand at a Guns N’ Roses concert. I didn’t mind that this had nothing to do with modeling. As much as I disliked rock concerts, I took the job because I needed the money—the equivalent of one hundred dollars. On the day of the concert, I went early to the venue. The other stagehands and I were given stage passes and we set up a stage. It turned out to be a great concert, and when it was over, we tore down the stage. The most important thing for me was that we were allowed to take the leftover food and drinks.
A week later, the modeling agency called me again. This time, they wanted me as a stagehand for a Prince concert. I was so excited; Prince was very popular in Spain and I liked his music, especially “Purple Rain.” I was paid the same amount as for the Guns N’ Roses concert, and I even got to meet Prince afterward. I also took home leftover food and drinks. But after that concert, I decided I was done with that agency. I wanted to work as a model, not a stagehand, so from then on, I just ignored their calls.
Not long afterward, I got a call from a different agency to appear at a movie premiere of The Crow in Barcelona. Usually, movie stars would attend the premieres of their films in different countries and cities. But the actors for The Crow weren’t able to attend their premiere in Barcelona, and the movie distributors in Barcelona had decided to use local talent to double as the stars of the movie at the premiere. One of the stars was black, and I was contracted to attend the premiere as his double. Two days after the premiere of The Crow, I was contacted by another agency. This time, I was to act along with a prominent Spanish TV character in a feature film entitled El Techo del Mundo. It was my first movie experience and the director (Felipe Vega)was very well known. We shot my part for two days. It was a tedious experience because one scene took a whole day and I had to run up and down a mountain many times before the director was satisfied. I even managed to say a few words in Igbo during the shooting. I was very surprised that they kept my line, and when the movie came out, my Igbo comment made the cut. I was only paid a hundred dollars, but it was very gratifying to be featured in a movie.
After the movie, modeling work became scarce and I started wandering the streets again, going from agency to agency. What happened next was a complete embarrassment. I had unknowingly given my information to agencies that claimed to be modeling agencies but were actually escort agencies. What they really did was connect their young, naïve model wannabes to their rich clients for s*x. The male models were connected to rich older ladies and the females to rich older men. One day, I was called by one of these agencies for a modeling job. When I got there, the female manager explained that the job was not a traditional modeling type job, but it was related to modeling. She told me that I was to show up at a mixed bachelor’s eve party. The bride and groom and all their friends would be there. They had made an unusual request for a young black model as a surprise gift for the bride. She said the gig would pay two hundred dollars. I found the request a little weird. But my curiosity was aroused and I wanted to find out what was really going on, so I accepted the job. I was given the address for the party and was told to be there by 6 p.m. The party was to take place the next day, a Saturday.
I spend the entire day trying to imagine what the party would be like. What would my role be? Was I going there to make a monkey out of myself, and was this bizarre request racially motivated? Did the organizers of the party want a black man there so they could taunt him, call him names, and use him as their entertainment for the evening? My imagination completely ran wild with this possibility, but I did not have to wonder for long. At 6 p.m. I showed up at the party, dressed smartly as I was told to. I rang the bell and some ladies came to the door, clearly happy to see me.
The venue was a hotel and the party was going on at the bar. As soon as I arrived, the crowd started cheering. I had no idea why they were cheering or what was going on, but the next thing I knew, all the ladies were on their feet, flocking around me, touching and groping me. I was confused and embarrassed. I looked around, and there was no other black person at the party. Everyone was in their late twenties to early thirties, more than thirty people in all, partying, drinking, dancing, and having a good time. As the ladies gathered around me, one of the guys came up to me, grabbed me by the hand, and guided me to a seat where a nice, shy-looking lady in her early thirties was sitting. He asked me to sit beside her and keep her company. Someone asked me what I wanted to drink and brought me a glass of wine.
As I sat beside the lady, sipping my wine, she seemed a little nervous but eager to talk with me. Eventually, she summoned up the courage. By this time my Spanish had improved and I could carry on a regular conversation without much difficulty. As we talked, she said that she was getting married, and for her wedding gift, her friends had decided to give her a black man. She explained that this was not in a demeaning way. As I later found out, this bizarre idea of a gift was a somewhat misguided compliment to black men. The party went on and I danced with her and a few other ladies. I was the life of the party. I thought to myself that there was nothing wrong with being paid to socialize with people who were perfectly okay with me. But I was completely wrong.
Barely a few minutes later, two ladies walked up to me and asked me to follow them. They led me to a room upstairs. Inside was the bride-to-be, sitting awkwardly by the bed. The two ladies showed me to the room, turned around, and locked the door behind them. I was surprised, but I didn’t want to rush to judge because I didn’t yet know her intentions. She had already mentioned that I was her wedding present, but I had no idea how far I would have to stretch that notion. I gave her an awkward smile and sat on the chair. I asked her if everyone knew that we were there, and she said everyone was in on the plan. I asked her what her intentions were; I was not a marriage counselor or a pastor, so what could she possibly want to talk to me about? Before I could say any more, she was all over me, kissing and tearing off my clothes.
I was enraged and completely disgusted, but I recognized the dilemma I was in. Here I was, a black man without immigrant status, and if I offended her by refusing her advances, she could easily claim that I had tried To Molest her. I calmed myself and told her to relax; I would give in to all her demands. Fortunately, she had brought a condom with her. We had s*x and apparently she was blown away by my performance and complimented me on it, saying her friends had been right about black men.
Despite her flattering words, I felt completely humiliated. I felt very small as I got up and walked into the bathroom to scrub myself thoroughly. When I came back out, everybody, including her husband-to-be, was in the room, laughing and talking loudly. The lady was still lying on the bed, now with her clothes on. She was smoking and chatting away with her girlfriends. As I entered the room feeling awkward and embarrassed, some of them tried to put me at ease, but it didn’t help. I’d had more than I could take, so I told them I was leaving. One of the ladies who had let me in when I arrived took me by the hand and walked me to a corner. She took out some money, which I supposed was my fee, because I was told by the agency that I would be paid at the party. She tried to hand me the money, but I told her to forget about it. Losing my dignity was one thing, but getting paid to lose my dignity was a lot worse. I never told anyone about the ordeal.
Meanwhile, I kept getting calls from that modeling agency, as well as other agencies. Apparently, word had gotten around about my performance at the party and a lot of people wanted to use me for similar occasions, but I had learned my lesson. After that humiliating experience at the party, I abruptly ended my “modeling career.” I had too much self-respect to continue. Maria Joana wanted to know why I had quit. I told her I was tired of running around to the agencies and that the jobs weren’t coming as regularly as I would have liked. I would look for a new job—one that didn’t require me to sacrifice my dignity and compromise my principles…
To Be Continued…