Harlem Nights: Karaoke at Billie's Black
He started on his knees with his back to the audience. He had chosen "A Change is Gonna Come"--Al Green's version and it was clear he about to give a show. When the metaphorical beat dropped he killed us with the harmonica. THE HARMONICA. My son killed this timeless and moving song with one of the most under rated instruments of all time. He quite literally had an entire solo act with this handheld instrument. Not one word was sung, mouthed, synced, or karaoked--yes, karaoked. After he was done, he made his exit, returned and made his exit again. He promised he would be back.
Earlier in the night my eating partner and fellow Black fly girl, Azalia, commented that she loved Billie's Black because she could be unapologetically Black here. And minutes later when the song played again due to technical difficulties and the entire restaurant began singing A Change is Gonna Come in unison she was proven correct.
Azalia Brown and Ruth Jean-Marie decided to play double-dutch on this particular article. Shout out to NYC public schools for not giving us tennis courts. Azalia (not Iggy or Banks) hails from Harlem, NY and Ruth (Rudy, Ruthie, Ruthless) is one of those Brooklynites that honestly won’t live anywhere else in the country. Despite their long distance friendship (yes. long distance), these two seem to have made it work—partly because they were stranded in the cold abyss that is Binghamton for four years—some refer to it as an undergraduate career. Not only do they write together, they protest, joke, shop and travel together too. Follow Azalia at @azaliaism and Rudy at @toharrietwithlove on Instagram. If you do, you’ll get the key to their other social media pages.