One day, I was casually scrolling through Instagram–as one does–when I saw this post from Dulé Hill announcing that he would be at one of the local bookstores along with his wife Jazmyn Simon to read their new book
I *immediately* texted my daughter: “We need to go to this.” She didn’t respond to my text, but when she got home from work, she said, “Oh, we are definitely going.”
Regular readers of the blog know that Psych is one of my favorite shows of all time. In fact, I started rewatching it from the beginning a couple of months ago (…or last year. Who knows? Time is a flat circle). I have favorite episodes, I went to the Psych movie premiere, I was looking at stickers on Red Bubble a little while ago and seriously considered doing a laptop cover with only Psych stickers, etc.
So yeah. We were definitely going.
We got to the bookstore about a half hour before the reading began, which was good, because I had to buy the book to get it signed. I told my daughter to go get us seats while I waited in line.
When I got upstairs, she had gotten a seat up front and was on her phone. As I approached her to sit down, I saw that there were items in the seats next to her indicating that they were being saved. She was somehow completely oblivious to that, so I made her move to seats a couple of rows back that allowed us to sit together and still offered an excellent view.
We had a little bit of a wait so chatted a bit and then it was time. Dulé Hill and Jazmyn Simon were introduced and then they walked in. Dulé said, “Hey, how are y’all doing?” and waved and my daughter turned to me and said, “He’s real.” And he is, indeed real. I have to say that it never stops being weird seeing people from TV and the movies in real life. Because they are just RIGHT THERE in 3D and not filtered through a screen.
Anyway, the event began with Jazmyn saying how weird it was to hear their bio read out loud because she wrote it and hadn’t yet heard it back in someone else’s voice. Then, she introduced the book Repeat After Me. Because the crowd was mostly adults (at the start there were maybe only two little kids), she read the authors’ note from the front of the book to prep us for the book itself. The gist is that she wrote the book because she used to do affirmations with her daughter (who is now in college) every day she drove her to school, and she and Dulé do the same with their son Levi, so she wanted to share the affirmations with both the children who would read their book as well as the adults because she found the affirmations valuable for not only her children but herself. She also said that even if someone found themselves in a time cruch, they could just turn to the last two pages that list all of the affirmations along with the command to “Repeat after me” (hence, the book title).
Then, she and Dulé read the book, taking turns with each page. (You can see my full review of the book here.) As promised, the end of the book invited the audience to repeat the affirmations, which we all did with gusto. It was very fun and empowering, I had to say.
Then, because I think the crowd wasn’t very large and more kids had shown up, she said she was going to read her first picture book Most Perfect You as well. She introduced that book by telling us the story behind it–how her daughter Kennedy had said she wished she could have white skin so she could be pretty and so Jazmyn told Kennedy that was wild because Kennedy had come to her exactly the way Jazmyn requested when she was pregnant. Basically, that the way her daughter looks is exactly the way Jazmyn wanted her to and that if her daughter had been any different she wouldn’t have been her.
Jazmyn then read the book, which is AWESOME. I liked the first book a lot but the second one will be my go-to baby shower gift from now on. It is just such a great affirmation of the things that make each child unique and is such a great way to pour into them while they’re young. (Full review here.)
After she was done reading, I turned to my daughter and said, “Oh my God, I love her so much,” to which my daughter responded “Dulé who?”
A Q&A followed in which Jazmyn cemented our love for her. So yes, friends, I walked into that book event to see Dulé Hill and left it fully in love with and a total fangirl of his wife. On top of that, the fact that his wife is so awesome and he was content to let her shine just gave me that much more respect for him.
Then it was time for the signing. Our books were technically already signed so this was for personalization with our names, etc. My daughter got in line while I went downstairs to buy Most Perfect You. When I got back upstairs, I noticed that Dulé and Jazmyn were taking pictures with people and wondered if they would with everyone. The young lady in front of us (who, by the way, Dulé greeted by name when he and Jazmyn first came into the room) assured us they would. “He’s super nice,” she said. “I know because I go to all of his events. That’s why he knows my name.”
When we got to the front of the line, they both said hello to us and then Jazmyn said to my daughter, “Who is this beautiful young lady?” My daughter, caught off guard, replied, “Who me?” with the biggest smile on her face. It was very sweet.
I pointed out that I had noticed Dulé tap dancing while he waited for the people to move through the line. Jazmyn told us that he never stops and his feet are always moving. And I was like I can relate (because I do time steps sometimes when I’m waiting in line and/or my students are doing an activity) and then my daughter told them I am a tap dancer who had a show recently (this is true). Dulé said, “Oh really now?” and then did a step and pointed at my feet. “Now you have to have answer back.” I, of course, froze because I AM TERRIBLE AT IMPROV (seriously, ask my tap teacher) and my daughter was like, “Come on, Mom, you just did a show.” So I did…something and he was like, “Hey!” and now I can officially say I tap danced with Dulé Hill, kind of. Also, Dulé liked us so much that he even signed the book his name wasn’t on so clearly we were his favorites.
And then my daughter and I drove home marveling at how much we love Jazmyn Simon. Also I was thinking that maybe I don’t have to meet any other celebrities ever because that was an A+ experience. Maybe. Anyway, I am so glad I live in L.A, so I can attend events such as these.