I just returned from St. Lucia’s 18th Annual Jazz Festival. I'm back to reality here in NYC and, boy, was St. Lucia unreal.
It was my first experience at this bustling festival filled with folks from all over the world. There were people on balconies, on the grass, in tents and everywhere else waiting to see the great lineup. It was lots of fun and, more important, I got to shake my booty more than I have the entire year! The festival got off to a great start: KC and the Sunshine Band impressed me with their sound. Their dance moves, on the other hand? That's another story! Patti Labelle worked the crowd and Chaka Kahn rocked the stage and had every single last woman (and even some men) singing “I’m Every Woman” just in time for Mother’s Day.
Now, the big headliner that everyone was anxious to see was Amy Winehouse. She was set to take to the stage in what we all hoped would be her big comeback. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more like a cry for help. Her wafer–thin body came teetering on stage in six-inch Louboutin heels (that she kept taking off) and a tight dress that sagged off her body. Even her signature beehive seemed deflated. The singing sensation seemed to be lost in a world of her own, only able to remember parts of lyrics, dancing off-beat and even completely changing up a song because she was ”bored." Yet, in spite of all the drama (not to mention a torrential downpour), no one moved. We were all transfixed, watching the train wreck unfold before our eyes. Then the weekend started to get strange.
I was sitting in a lounge chair the next day, catching some sun, when a petite girl with black wavy hair, bamboo earrings and black eyeliner sits right on down on the edge of my chair, asks me my name and introduces herself as Amy (as if I didn’t know it was Amy Winehouse!). We talked about the show the night before, and I tried to give her a little pep talk, even though there wasn't really any saving grace to the whole fiasco. Amy, sounding like a little girl, complimented my nail color and bag and hugged me, saying, “I think I love you, Verky.” Then she frolicked down the beach, which is how it seems she spends the majority of her days in St. Lucia. She suddenly turned and screamed out to me, "Wait! Are you a lesbian? Oh, well neither am I!" Glad we cleared that up.
While I lay there, following her with my eyes, I thought about all the people standing in the rain to watch her, her inability to perform for us and the combination of excitement and sadness that our encounter made me feel. I came to the conclusion that, although Amy Winehouse is lost in her own world right now, there something about her that makes it almost impossible not to want to follow. Whether it’s her crazy vibe, celebrity status or drug-and-alcohol-fueled insanity -- there is just something about Amy that is magnetic, even when she is falling apart.