Women of Soul White House: Daphnei's Reflection
Sad to say, our Washington D.C journey has come to an end. It was such a blessing to have gone on this trip. I’m slowly trying to adjust to Hawaii Time and I finally can wear tank tops and walk around barefooted because of the warm weather that I haven’t felt for a week. Although, I miss the 20 degree weather and bundling up and wearing scarfs and boots every day. This trip was amazing and in every way beneficial for me. I’ve learned so much from how to follow a map to how important it is to make a good first impression.
On the first day when we got to D.C I still couldn’t believe we were there until I stepped outside the airport and felt the cold air, I’m pretty sure that’s when it all hit us. We we’re in Washington D.C so excited and I was ready with an open mind and a teachable spirit.
When we got there it was about 3:30 pm Washington time and we were all pooped, Then we got to our hotel unpacked and knowing Mister, we went straight to dinner at Fogo de Chao. They have the best salad bar, we all enjoyed it. Then excited we all had to go to bed early for the workshop the next day.
We woke up at around 6 am to get ready for the workshop at the W hotel and I was so excited and ready to meet students from other places and learn more about them and where they come from. We caught the metro there and the cold kind of calmed down. We started to get used to it. Then we went to this bakery called The Corner Bakery and it was the cutest place and we met a waiter and he treated us so kindly. He’s the reason we all started saying “yay yay” through the whole trip because he had a cool accent and that’s all he would say after everything.
Then we went to the workshop and I was excited and my first thought was “Why are there so many big kids?“ There were Universities there and youth groups and I felt so little. Until we all shared where we were from and got to know each other then we all got comfortable with each other and it didn’t feel like we were different anymore. We met two very polite boys from the Bronx who we got the closest to and we had a lot in common with.
During the workshop we were introduced to 3 speakers who came from different places and all ended up in the same career, we learned about how hard it is to plan the Grammys and how it related back to our shows because they go through the same things we go through when we are setting up our own productions in NPAC. Most of what the speakers taught us is exactly what Mr. Kitsu tells us at practice and rehearsals. It was very informative and relevant to what we’re going through now.
The evening part of the workshop got even better as we got to plan the surprise of singing “Sweet Soul Music”. We got a chance to hear some students sing from other schools and we got to harmonize with the other groups. I enjoyed it, it was fun. Then we headed back to the hotel and get some rest for the big day which was the day we would all get to the White House.
I personally couldn’t sleep because I was too excited and stoked for the next day. This was it the day of the White House workshop and I was so giddy. We got ready at 5:45 am and met mister in the lobby at 6:30. I wasn’t even cold anymore because the excitement took over and I was as ready as ever.
So we walked to the metro center and I’ve learned to not swipe your metro card to fast because you won’t get it. The metro machine didn’t like me at all. I had the most trouble with it, but I got in eventually after many tries.
So when we got there we waited in the W hotel until it was time to get in line, then I started to get nervous seeing everyone in their business attire and knowing that in a few minutes will be on our way through security to the White house. OMG.
Then we got to security where we had to walk through a door with a dog and it’s scary because you feel like you’re so guilty all the time in the White House or that you’re doing something wrong. Then when we got in the building we checked our coats in and took a million selfies in front of everything and start posting away like crazy. We took pictures of the pictures in the White House, then selfies in the bathroom, then group pictures with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and our Bronx friends.
After the millions of pictures we are told to go in. When we got in the room and sat down, we got a program and it had the names of the guest speakers and a little about them. I was personally excited for Patti Labelle and Janelle Monae.
We all patiently waited for Michelle Obama to come out, the room was quite and the press was in and things got real. The First Lady came out and we all stood up and clapped. She was really friendly and inviting and when she spoke I learned so much from the 10 minutes she was speaking, she reminded me of my mom. She said one specific thing that moved me she said “Everyone will fail, but you’ll learn from that and the key is to keep moving forward.”
Then we got to hear the three speakers speak to us and tell us their stories and where they come from. I took notice that they were all very supportive to each other even though they came from different places they all are in the same career and they are there for each other.
Melissa Ethridge taught me that it’s very important to be yourself no matter what other people think. Janelle Monae taught me that it doesn’t matter how many people doubt you as long as you believe in yourself you can do it. Patti Labelle taught me that if you have a talent USE IT! She sang her butt off and that’s what she loved to do and was talented in it. These three ladies have come from different places and each had different struggles but wanted to share their stories through soul music because they loved to sing and they wanted to move people and be moved by their music soulfully.
After the Workshop at the White House we said goodbye to our friends from the Bronx and our hosts Bob, Kate and Martha from AEG Entertainment. They we’re truly so nice and respectful to us and I’ve learned a lot from each of them and I want to thank them for making this opportunity possible for NPAC.
After we said our goodbyes all of us went to the Lincoln memorial and Vietnam memorial and they were both things I’ve only heard about in books or on T.V or in movies and to actually see it was amazing and life changing.
When we were at the Lincoln memorial Deja recited the Gettysburg Address by memory which was what she was dying to do throughout this whole trip.
We ended this long day trying to walk to the Kennedy Center when we realized it was way too cold to walk there and we didn’t know how to get there Mister tried to plug in his phone and he plugged in the wrong end and we all repeatedly told him it was the wrong way but he didn’t listen and we all just started to laugh as he said “Hey, It’s been a long day my brain is frozen”.
Then we took two cabs to the Kennedy Center and Dorian and Mister spoke the Alma Mater in the cab as we got there.
It felt like -972614 degrees outside so we sat there and watched the ballet, well we kind of watched it. Half of us fell asleep because we were so tired from this long day.
After the ballet we all caught the shuttle back to the metro center and went back to our hotel. At this point I was already sad because then I realized that were going home the next day.
Through this long Journey I am so grateful to have learned the things I’ve learned and did the things I’ve done. I feel like this trip brought us 5 girls and Mr. Kitsu closer than we were before and I feel like I have a better understanding of how being a performer is or being in the industry is. It makes me even more sure of the career I want to go in. I’ve learned over all that you always need to work your butt off because your dreams don’t happen over night and that even though people doubt you if you believe you can do it, you can do it. Also that it doesn’t matter where you come from because where we come from doesn’t define who we are and what we wish to accomplish.
This trip has been an absolute blessing and I’m so happy and content with everything I have experienced and grateful to be chosen for it. I wish we all could relive this experience again. Now I’m jetlagged and missing the cold weather.