It's the evening before the Stay Video Release Party, and I'm sitting here with true butterflies in my stomach. I attempted to sleep about 20 minutes ago because I'm a nervous wreck. I was in a GREAT mood yesterday. The more the production crew and I spoke about the party at Pearl in NYC, the more happy I felt. It is very empowering when you get to see the results of something that began as a simple idea that popped into your head. The director for the video of Stay, David Miskin, just called me one day and said, "We're GONNA do a video for Stay." My next thought was, "How? With what funds? And yes, I know you all think I'm a gazzilionaire, but what most ofyou don't know is how much money you actually have to spend on a day to day basis just to stay in the business. 20% goes to your manager; 15% goes to your booking agent; 10% goes to your road manager: and I always tip the limo driver- and I tip them well so when I need a favor, they remember my kindness and return the same!! LOL. Then there's your outfits...and thanks to youtube, you have to be careful about repeating outfits....bottom line - it's expensive!!! So for a video, we're talking major bucks!!! You need a director, producer, director of photography, grips, script advisors, wardrobe hair, makeup, studio, you have to feed the crew, etc...
But LOVE, my friends, is always the answer. I have to admit, many people either did this out of the kindness of their hearts, or they did it for far less than I know they deserve. And that's when I feel it. The love. The idea that the producer posted much of the funding and he didn't even really know me well; but he believes in me. It just touches my heart beyond words...and I am deeply humbled! They all did, they all believed in me....and I felt their love the second we all went on the set. And we did it on a VERY low budget. So here we are. We filmed at the end of August, and tomorrow we show the video for the first time!! It began with an idea and a month later, it has been filmed, edited re-edited, and it is now a reality!!
So yesterday I was having a great day until...
I had a conference call with my manager, and the whole weight thing came up again. Although he wasn't at all trying to be mean; he wasn't degrading me as other managers have done in the past, but it hurts when someone says, "When people see this video, all they will see is the weight....how much weight have you gained anyway?" It hurts. I don't care how gentle one is about approaching the subject, it hurts. It hurts because you wake up in the morning and YOU see what's going on...the mirror is screaming the word FATSO to you! I hung up the phone and I CRIED MY ASS OFF!! And then I cried some more...and then I felt a huge sense of panic. I had to do something...I was frantic...I couldn't breathe. I think I had my first panic attack. I remembered what my mom said to me last time I was crying about being told I have to lose weight. She said, "Aye, Judy, please. Why do men try to tell us how to look all the time? What have you been doing for the last 20 something years? Have you been entertaining? The people accept you, they love you, so what's everyone else's problem? Please, next time tell him to get off your back." But sometimes when it's very quiet in my home and I'm reflecting, I'm secretly wondering if I haven't made it big because of my obesity...
I called him back.
"We have to talk because I just spent the last ten minutes crying."
"Oh, no, don't do that..."
"Well, you can't tell me that because that's what happened. I just wanna tell you that I appreciate your honesty, and I know you are only telling me what the industry people will think, but honestly, your timing SUCKS!! I was all excited about this video and the party, and you tell me that all people will see is my weight?"
"Judy, no. You're wrong...that's not what I'm saying...the young people who buy these songs equate weight with being old. I don't want people saying you're old...I don't care if you lose the weight or not. I think you're a beautiful woman..."
"Yea, I know, I'm beautiful BUT! There's always a BUT...But you'd be prettier if you lost weight...I've heard that all my life."
And then it got bad. I went into that cry where you hyperventilate..ank you can't talk because you're trying to breathe. I HATE when I do that...I come across so freaking weak, but I do show my feelings, and I could not have felt lower. I'm even crying right now while I write this, because the whole subject, well, leaves me feeling as low as I can feel.
"Judy, I didn't say you're beautiful but...anything. I was trying to say you're a beautiful woman! I believe in you - I'm not going anywhere and I wont be disappointed if you don't lose the weight. I just think it's a shame that you worked so hard to lose weight and it's coming back on...I want to see you make it, and I don't want your weight to hold you back."
"Well, how did Queen Latifah do it all these years then!" I argued
"She LOST the weight!"
"Yea - NOW she did. But how did she do it all those years ago?"
Back and forth we went like a very tense and exciting tennis match. We hung up, and I felt better. I felt proud that I had the guts to call him back and tell him I was hurt. I felt better that he said he believes in me now matter what I weigh. And, as much as it hurts, I am thankful, that he's honest to my face. We ended the conversation with him reassuring me he cares, he loves working with me and he believes in me but he wanted me to know what others will think, feel and say.
So, I have the dress. I have the shoes, the jewelry...I have friends. I have love, I have family...and I have fans that love every single freaking love handle I own...I know they look at me, and I know they see the weight, but you know what? I believe in myself enough to show up tomorrow weighing whatever I weigh!! I believe in myself enough to say, "yes, I did it for the fat chicks!!" "Soy golda pero soy buena!" ( I am fat but I am good!) and I believe in myself enough to say, "God knows who I am. He knows my heart...and although not perfect, I work hard to love people no matter what, and I want the people to give me the same." Whatever happens tomorrow night among my peers and the music industry guests, I DID MY VERY BEST work in this video! And I am thankful to the ENTIRE crew for believing in this chunky but funky J-To!!!