Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Another friend lost to Reality TV

I was searching the internet today and to my surprise I find an old buddy on Missy Elliott's new UPN show. I have three friends who ended up on Reality TV. For some, it will be the biggest thing in their lives.... but for others it will be just a small milestone.

First, there was Ellen Cho. We met in an airport in Chicago. I was a sophomore and she was a junior in college.... we were headed to Seattle for our summer internships. When I saw her Asian American Journalists Association bag, I went up to her and started saying "Hey, are you going to.....?"

"Seattle? For that minority journalism students' boot camp?! Yes!!" she enthusiastically finished my sentence.... and proceeded to drag me through the airport like a new best friend..... or a puppy. Whatever. I don't think I've ever met anyone like her..... she was the "Alpha-est" female I ever met. This is what I remember of Ellen.... once we got to Seattle, while the rest of the interns and I slept till the last possible minute at our University of Washington dorms (which are beautiful) .... Ellen got up at 6 a.m. every morning for a run. She talked non-stop, and was misleadingly flirty with the boys (even if she had a boyfriend back home.) If I had to equate Ellen to a place, it would be Manhattan. Energetic and inspirational, but you gotta take it in installments or it will burn you out. Months after our internship we met for dinner in Philly. We went to a Middle Eastern restaurant and she proceeded to give me that "Asian mom guilt trip" when I ordered hummus after she ordered the goat. "Great! Now I feel like a PIG!" I remember her saying. God damnit! Must everything be filled with so much drama?! No wonder you ended up on the Real World, your biggest accomplishment being the ability to sit on a block of ice with your hands in the air for the longest time. Actually, in all fairness I think the Real World made Ellen look a lot bitchier than she really was in person..... but it wasn't far from the truth.

Either before or after Ellen.... or maybe around the same time, Jake Bronstein started appearing on another MTV show, Road Rules. He wasn't a friend actually.... I just say that at parties to look cool :) He sat behind me in Spanish 2 at dear old Central High. Of course, I was too shy to talk to cool, good-looking upperclassmen. Maybe we said four complete sentences to each other the whole time in high school.... and they weren't even in English.

Most recently, I saw Akil Baker on UPN's "Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott." Apparently, he changed his name to Akil Dasan. He was my date to the prom..... and from the day I met him, I knew he was destined to become a great musician. As we waited for friends to come pick us up in the limo, Akil and I played around with my guitar and he played a song he wrote (this is when we were like 17) and I was speechless. Around graduation time, when he told me he was going to Columbia to "be a doctor" I remember feeling proud and sad. Proud that he picked such a noble profession and sad knowing that so many others in the world will never get to hear his music.

It only takes stage presense and good looks to be on the Real World or Road Rules, but Akil has real talent (I'm sure you'll agree if you check out the "behind the scenes video") and out of the three friends who made it to reality tv.... I hope that Akil gets far more than his 15 minutes of fame. He was always mad cool, intelligent and polite and could make everyone in a room smile. He doesn't have the "drama queen" element going for him.... but hopefully his talent will outshine the need for it. I hope that his "realness" isn't spoiled by reality tv. Best of luck Akil, I hope you win!


At 9:47 AM, Blogger Fly said...

wow, thats actually really cool.

I saw the show on UPN months ago and they had this freestyle battle in the ring. Granted Akil going against some talentless white boy who was just funny looking. Akil had the most skill hands down at least when it came to the kind of music I listen to. Thoughtful and original. Watching that scene made me want to get back to the mic. Blessed fly...

At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah... Dasan is actually my middle name... My full name is Akil Dasan Bernstein Baker, but I figure Akil Dasan has a better ring to it... I had a great time at the prom, and that Missy show was a trip... your post really took me back and put a smile on my face :)


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