Still Foxy After All These Years

“Me, sexy? I’m just plain ol’ beans and rice.”

Pam Grier came to town for a meet-and-greet and signing for her new memoir, Foxy: A Life in Three Acts. The divine Miss Grier has always someone I’ve admired from afar so the chance to admire her up close was not an opportunity I was going to let pass by.

Pam Grier….sigh.

Beans and rice indeed.  It does a body good and take my word for it: She looks damn good at 61 years old.  Good Black does not crack.    She spoke before she signed books and was very funny, especially when she talked about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  She really went off about how she missed those shorts NBA used to wear.  “You know ladies…the type that showed those thighs, legs and butt.  You could even see the jock strap.”

Apparently, Abdul-Jabbar really is 7’2″.  Ahem…moving right along.

Maybe because she’s an actress who still has to hustle for jobs, but Pam comes off as a serious and grounded sister who didn’t “go Hollywood” and forget where she came from.  Yeah, she breathes in rarefied air.  She name-dropped her next film, Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, but she’s billed ninth according to IMDB.com, so I’m guessing she doesn’t get a lot of face time.

I stood patiently in line, got my picture taken with her and spoke with her.  I reminded her that I had interviewed her for The Root.com (and yes you can read it right HERE) and told her my earliest memory of her was seeing a testosterone-in-overdrive double feature of Coffy and Foxy Brown.

She laughed and said, “Well, I raised you well.”   Why yes, you did, Pam and I’m too much of a gentleman to mention I used to have a centerfold of you in your birthday suit taped to my locker when I was stationed at Rickenbacker AFB, which is the same military installation she grew up as a child.   Maybe that would have made for a more interesting story, but I couldn’t think of any nice way to say, “You were smokin’ hot in that nude pic.”

Still it’s nice to not only speak to, but to actually meet those you’ve admired from afar.  There isn’t any difference between Pam Grier on the phone and in person and I appreciate her for being authentic without coming across as this big Hollywood actress.

For a moment I thought about slapping up on the blog the picture of Pam and I cheesing for the camera, but I decided against it.  Pictures of civilians chilling with celebrities ranks right up there with vacation pictures of places you haven’t been.  How can you really relate?  That particular frozen moment in time is for me and I don’t think it’s necessary to share with everyone.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind if it wasn’t for the color of her skin, Pam Grier would have enjoyed far greater success and acclaim than she’s received.   She’s extremely proud of her roles in the theater, television and film that have nothing to do with toting a gun and baring her bosom.   Unfortunately, she got stuck in that “B-movie bad mama” pigeonhole and has had to work hard to show she has range as an actress.   Watch her harrowing portrayal as Charlotte, a homicidal prostitute in Fort Apache: The Bronx and you won’t see Pam Grier.   You’ll see an actress at work and submerging her persona in a character that is deranged, damaged, and dangerous as hell .

Yeah, you could say I was impressed by Pam Grier.

Now, when do I get to meet Sade?

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