When Amber Iman was asked to perform on Broadway as part of NYPopsUp, “I began to freak out.” The pressure was on: “I should at least get either a Tony nomination or a husband or both if I dream big, right?”
She was saying this at the top of her hour full of banter and song (including the Nina Simone song, “Be My Husband” in the video below) at Broadway Theater on April 10.
But then she calmed down…a little. Iman, a Broadway veteran (Soul Doctor and Shuffle Along) who is co-founder of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition ,said she realized that the audience would be friends and colleagues (certainly in the theater; maybe also watching on Instagram Live?) And then: “I started to think about us, the collective us. And I started to think about all the things that we have been through over the past year. What we suffered through what we endured.
‘We endured zoom baby showers and bar mitzvahs and birthdays. We endured Zoom gigs and galas…. Self tapes and self sabotage. But then black squares and black rage, and also white tears that sometimes turned into white silence. We discovered and uncovered and survived and we lost jobs, and insurance and momentum and progress. We lost ambition and loved ones, family members and friends and sometimes it felt like we lost our way…
“We created and built; maybe some of y’all build businesses, built whole family, some of y’all had home children just baking children in you human baking oven, friendships and relationships, y’all. Birth, music and books and screenplays and pilots and movements. And then there was a collective centering of health and wellness and self, because we had more than Monday off.
“We found time to heal and care for our bodies, our minds and our spirits, or we cooked and drank and ate and cried and that’s fine too.” She herself became a celebrity chef and a celebrity mixologist, as well as an Apple Genius employee – at least to her mother.
“ I started thinking about this massive year, and how could I possibly put together a show that summed it up or had a through line or made sense. And then I remembered the 2020 didn’t make any sense. ..The fact that I have on clothes right now and you are seeing more than just this part of my body is a whole miracle. Amen”