I’ve been trying since yesterday evening to tell this story without being offensive or condescending about the elderly, the demented, or the homeless. I don’t know if I ever figured it out, so I’d like to apologize in advance…
Yesterday I boarded the G train and there was a pale elderly man seated next to a tomato. Not tomato sauce in a can. Not a small package of grape tomatoes, just a big. red. tomato.
He quickly spotted me (my fro has that effect) and started screaming at me in Italian I couldn’t comprehend. He snapped his fingers to get my attention a few times, but I just browsed photos I’d already seen on my phone, shuffled a few songs on my “chill times bro” playlist, and fiddled with my never-ending hangnails. While I thought the tomato was strange, what came next was even stranger:
He picked up the tomato, and he put it into his pants. Not the pants he was wearing, mind you, but one of the two pairs of pants he was holding in his lap. He didn’t put it in a pocket of the pants. He put it into the pants entire.
I don’t know what any of that meant, truly. I’d like to think it was a metaphor for a city like New York, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was just a bizarre interaction on the subway.
xo - Akilah
At the time I am writing this, it is 1 a.m., I should be sleeping, but instead I’m feeling all the feelings and I want to emote:
I started making consistent YouTube videos in 2012. Sometimes they weren’t good. Sometimes they were good. Either way, not many people were watching them. I was bashful to share them because I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t have the ability to produce anything remotely like my vision, and as a broke kid from Kentucky, I didn’t know where to begin to find “my people” online. It was daunting. It was hard. And like making big gold balloons face the correct direction in light of excess wind—it was a challenge that I somehow accepted.
I adjusted my sails (or balloon strings—if you will) and moved to New York to pursue a comedy career. I had some really remarkable days, and really mediocre days, and really sucky days. I came this|close to realizing dreams and watched some fall away, but I refused to be defeated just because my goal was hard.
I come to you as someone who is awestruck by the unwavering support, guidance, and hope you’ve all given me. I specifically want to point out my friend, Tim, who has stayed up way passed his bedtime to edit for me, and listen to me emote sosoSO many nights.
As for my precious audience, I want you to know that you’ve made this journey worth every lonely night, every busy day, and every exhilarating moment. It has been the absolute joy of my life making silly little videos to make you smile and I hope you all get to feel how I’m feeling right now—whatever your passion may be (and if you already have, I hope you get to feel it again).
This dream is a big monster that I’m happy to say I have an army of people helping me chase down, and I have never doubted less the possibility of us succeeding together. We’re making it happen. We’re defying gravity.
Here’s to 50k more!
xo - Akilah