A Royal Run-In With Millie Jackson

This past weekend I had an audience with The Queen…no, not of England. Rupaul? No, she might be fabulous but she’s no queen. I’m talking about real royalty, not just someone who dons a crown and feels entitled. I’m talking about The Queen of Hip-Hop, R & B, Soul, Country and Pop! I am talking about Miss Millie Jackson.

Thanks to an alert my partner set up on my computer (you know I’m not capable of that), an article by Queens Chronicle (I wish I’d thought of that name first) reported that Millie was doing a “Conversation” show at The Black Spectrum Theatre Company in Queens, New York. I was lucky enough to score VIP tickets to the show that included a reception with The Queen herself as well as a table seat right up front for the event and bottles of water and wine. I swore I’d never drive in New York, but I guess never say never when there’s an opportunity to hang with Millie Jackson.

The Black Spectrum’s mission is to “provide the community with African-American cultural expression through contemporary theater and film” and the theatre’s community turned out but I was disappointed that the gay community didn’t. Millie is the definition of an iconic diva, in my gay opinion. She’s performed every genre of music, her humor is tongue-in-cheek, and she’s got the mouth of a trucker who’s got no more fucks to give. I’m just astounded she isn’t embraced by our community more.

The show opened with a guy singing old-school lyrics which the audience finished, there was a skit about Millie’s start in the music industry, and finally four singers did a medley of Millie’s most famous songs. Then the diva herself wandered onto stage, decked out in her finest black studded outfit, bitching that nobody told her what she was there to do, with a wink. Millie settled onto her throne center stage and four men from different phases of her career sat on either side of her, to talk about her life. From growing up in the south and selling her dad’s liquor for a dollar-a-pop when she was ten, to selling sandwiches off a store’s wheelie-cart but making her own sandwiches on the side so she could pocket the money. Someone in the audience asked where she bought the meat, there was a pause followed by a glare and eye roll that Millie has perfected, “Where the fuck do you buy your meat? Of course, I got it at the grocery deli!” Millie shared stories of having to put her hand on top of a radio late at night to pick up Nashville’s country stations and she’s her own manager because she won’t give someone 25% of her gross earnings to accept or reject a job when she can do it herself.

After an hour or so, there was a ten-minute intermission. Millie stayed on stage drinking a beer and catching up with the guys. Some fans approached the stage and Millie posed for pictures, some walked away with mementos of Millie flipping them off. The second hour-long portion of the night had audience questions that were surprisingly personal. Her marriage advice is to end it before the first anniversary but when it comes to career advice, she made it without any and doesn’t offer any. Did she date Isaac Hayes? “Do you expect me to share my personal life up here? (Pause for a few seconds assuming that was a negative) No, we didn’t date but we fucked two times!” Then it got even more personal with: Do you still fuck? “What do you mean still? Did I fuck last night? No! Did I fuck last year? No! I haven’t fucked in twelve years!” Followed by her classic smile and laugh. This is why I love Millie; she says shit you don’t even see coming and the retorts are quick and as sharp as her tongue.

The VIP reception was informal and Millie was very accessible. There was a staff member taking pictures so I asked her if Millie would sign autographs. She asked Millie and was told “I don’t know what I’m doing!” so she turned back to me and said “you can try when it’s your turn!” When my turn came, I handed my pink and green phone to the staff member and asked Millie if she’d sign my “Back To The Shit” CD booklet which she graciously did. I had emotionally prepared for a tongue lashing, but it didn’t come until I called her an “icon” and she said that sounded like I was calling her old. I had a poster from the venue and I asked if she’d sign that as well. She looked around for a place to sign it but no table was available, so she spun me around, bent me over and used my back…I always knew Millie was a top. Then we posed for our pic and she noticed a venue photographer was using a professional camera and asked the staff member with my phone “Why are you using that pink piece of shit?” I feigned offense and said “Hey! That’s my pink piece of shit!” and we both burst out laughing. This blurry-ass pic is the result and as always, Millie was right, my phone is a pink piece of shit!

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