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Cee Lo, a Flash Mob and Me

July 8, 2011

Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob

Oscar Wilde

I really don’t have a bucket list. At an early age, I made the very conscious decision to put the gas on pursuing

my dreams. We really don’t have any guarantees of how long we get. Ergo, you could easily kick the bucket long before you make a bucket list.

My mob motivation

It really struck me the summer I graduated from high school. My ma took my siblings and me back to my birthplace of Malawi. During our journey we stopped in Paris. I have still vivid memories of tour busses filled with senior citizens, unable to walk along the Place de la Concorde. So instead they were content see the sights from their seats.  While that’s certainly not a bad way to spend your golden years, I just figured that I wanted to be able to walk—and run from place to place.

Making a list

I’ve been blessed to cross off a lot of personal goals on the list that I started that seminal summer. Become a broadcast journalist. Check. Produce stories about starvation in southern Africa. Check. Get my book published by a major house.  Check. Go to the collections in Paris. Check. Go to the Emmys and Oscars. Check and check.

Flashing out of nowhere

For the past two years there has been one item that I have not been able to check off. I longed to be being a part of a flash mob.

The Urban Dictionary defines flash mob as: A group of people who appear from out of nowhere, to perform predetermined actions, designed to amuse and confuse surrounding people. The group performs these actions for a short amount of time before quickly dispersing. Flash mobs are often organised through email and/or newsgroup postings.

I was all set to be a part of one earlier this year, but then a commitment to speak made it impossible.

The delay was just meant to be. I was destined to share my flash mob moment with “The Voice” judge Cee Lo “Forget You” Green yesterday.

A toddler is part of a fountain flash mob at City Walk

Getting ready for the mob

The instructions said the place would be City Walk at Universal City. The routine came via YouTube. From my bedroom, I did my best to bust a few moves. As I sashayed, I vacillated about going because there is always work to do.  When mob organizers announced that Cee Lo was going to be involved, I was so in.

So what do you wear to a flash mob? A self-designed maxi dress and a vintage, from my closet, pink bolero were in order, along with gladiator sandals. Before you laugh, more than one of the flash mobbers wore heels and there were plenty of dresses.

We are family

Once at CityWalk, the mob went through the routine at least a half dozen times officially. For more action, I joined several informal groups. Volunteers went through the steps with the intensity of a Broadway, kick ball change, show.

While there were plenty teenagers, there were a lot of families, including one gorgeous flash mom, with her son, who told me she was wearing heels because she came straight from work.  I also spotted an intergenerational group composed of a grandmother, a mother and two daughters. More than once, I had to peep grandma. She knew all the moves.

You’re on

At the beginning of our practice, there were a few hundred spectators awaiting the Cee Lo concert.

By the end, there were thousands clogging CityWalk.

Stage left, just before  show time, I caught a glimpse of a black SUV. That’s the international symbol for “star is about to arrive.”

So I got my camera ready. As Cee Lo walked by, I did that paparazzi trick  to get his attention and said something.  “Holla,” to be precise. There was not enough time to tell him that I was going to be a part of his opening act.

There was no time to linger. Showtime beckoned. After organizers gave us our props, flashlights, we winded our way back to the performance area as Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” played.

The music swelled. I took my position. I flash mobbed. Check.

Forget you?

After the performance, I hung around to see Cee.

I mostly wanted to see how he would handle the lyrics of his signature song, known in polite circles as “Forget You,” especially in light of so many families, with young children, in attendance.

Of course, that song was on the end of the playlist.

When it came time for the possible deployment of the f-bomb, the singer went silent. It was up to the audience to fill in the blank. It seems most did not care that there were families in attendance.

Forget you Cee Lo, or my first flash mob ever? Never.

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