Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Black Girl at a Country Concert

'Sometimes You Got To'

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 9:40 AM

aerinspruill.jpg

"Oh I see you, country girl."

"Are you telling me he's gotten you to like country music?????? #truelove"

"Ummmm you know I'm excited about this! #countrygirlnow?"

Those were the comments that appeared underneath a picture of my boo and me after we went to the PNC Music Pavilion to see Old Dominion and Kenny Chesney. Why, you may ask? One, I've never liked country music. Two, I'm dating a white guy, if you didn't know already. And some of my friends, past and present, are just now finding out both of these little facts. That's what happens when you fall in love and go on hiatus for a while. I can't blame them. After all, the transition between single life to, "'We like going to the poke spot near Dilworth Neighborhood Grille ... terrible customer service is one of 'our' biggest pet peeves ... 'we' love watching scary movies together... " happened overnight for some – including my mom. And this, my friends, is what love is.

That being said, my taste in music (and partners) has always been fairly diverse. In fact, I sent him a screenshot of "Written in the Sand" by Old Dominion asking him if he'd heard the song before.

He and his friends have had to "adapt," too – by adapt, I hope you understand that I mean "sometimes you got to" make adjustments to your behavior, worldview and conversation in order to understand others. After all, Aerin's still going to turn up to Cardi B and argue about why #blacklivesmatter - and everyone listens. But I digress.

When one of my love's friends invited us to go to the concert last Friday, there was no hesitation when I responded with, "Yes, that sounds like fun." I didn't care who was performing, if I'd heard a song, that the genre was country or that we'd have to hike to PNC. All I cared about was the fact that I was going to be able to spend that time with the man of my dreams. And to me, that's the type of love that Kenny Chesney is talking about in "Get Along," released on April 6 this year.

"We find out when you die the keys to heaven can't be bought. We still don't know what love is but we sure know what it's not. Sometimes you got to ... get along." True love means being willing to step outside of your comfort zone, trying to understand ideas you've never been introduced to and even going to country concerts at PNC to listen to artists you may never have heard of.

That being said, my partner and I are really good at communicating when it comes to laughing at the haters, ignoring the ignorant and reconciling our differences. That's why it was easy for us to laugh at the fact that we anticipated the absence of black people at the show. (Some would maybe chop this up to the fact that we were #blessed with box seats. But I don't have time to get into social politics and perceived financial status. I don't care what color you are, free tickets, especially when they're epic, are free tickets.)

We settled in our seats as Old Dominion was performing their first song – traffic to PNC on a Friday afternoon is horrendous. Immediately, I noticed two things: how amazing it was to sit underneath fans with misters and how upbeat the atmosphere was. And when "Written in the Sand" came on, my boo turned to me quickly flashing a smile so big I could've melted.

By the time Kenny Chesney actually came on, I can honestly say I felt right at home. I observed cougars twerking in a box with a man who I'd imagined was their sugar daddy — after all, he wasn't "easy on the eyes." I witnessed Medics wheeling a girl out of the stadium — yes, country folk get lit, too. I thanked the high heavens that we didn't tailgate all day when we saw how sloppy drunk some people were — you would've thought the stairs were never ending. Can you ask for more entertainment?

But then it happened. The moment we'd laughed about and had been waiting for. I saw my first black person. It was as if the heavens opened up. A black woman walks toward us hand-in-hand with a white guy, donning cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, booty shorts and 18-inch yaki weave. Get. It. Bish. My boo and I burst out laughing and it's as if she was reading my mind when she glanced at me and smiled the biggest smile of recognition.

Anyways, I joke a lot about the dynamics of social interactions in nightlife. However, there are specific situations which really highlight how set in our ways we really are. A black girl at a country concert being one of them. But if we're really going to learn how to "Get Along" we're going to have to try to understand one another in a wide variety of spaces and figure out how to appreciate our differences.

When's the last time you pushed the boundaries of your comfort zone in Q.C.? Share it with me.

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