I was standing outside Gates BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri, waiting for my co-worker to arrive. I was hoping to just get a few words with her so I could let her know that I truly did not know what was going to happen in the next thirty minutes.
Of course, I knew we were going to eat delicious barbecue with a high possibility of onion rings dipped in delicious vinegar-forward barbecue sauce. I had very little idea of with whom we would be eating said delicacies. We were meeting with a gentleman whose name had been given me as someone well-connected in the African-American community in Kansas City.
We at Brainroot are working on creating compelling documentaries that reach across racial differences and communities and cultures within the United States. This desire leaves us keenly aware of the cloistered facts of our own communities. Along this vein, I had reached out to a few friends saying, “Hey, I want to be more connected to communities outside my current one(s)! Can you help?”
It was in response to this that I appeared with our project’s executive producer, Carla, at one of the premium barbecue joints of the world.
Before I could convene with Carla, I got a ring on my flip phone; it was our friend the unknown introducee. He said he could see me standing outside and that I oughta come on in. I told him I was waiting for Carla. He then appeared through the double doors and introduced himself.
John* had a black Kansas City Chiefs shirt on, corn rows that flowed into long braids down the back of his neck, and a wide, sincere smile that revealed one or more gold front teeth.