A day before my departure to Las Vegas (to see Mimi in concert, no less!), I joined a contest in the Mariah Carey fanclub, Honey B Fly, and I won! The contest was to have a VIP access to the Oprah taping that will feature Mariah. This would have been the third time that I would win something from them. I was allowed to bring a guest and I gave Enol's name. At the concert in Vegas, I was seated next to fan who had a sign with him. The sign was then acknowledged by Mariah at the concert. And that's when I had thought about how to achieve my goal - this elusive and rare photo opportunity.
By September 16, I was getting frantic since I have never heard from the fan club as to the logistics of this prize and Enol was reluctant in coming with me because of work issues. September 17, I finally got an email about what to do and what to bring and when and where to meet and Enol was given a day off. Fantastic! I thought this is really coming along well. Alas, Enol was feeling a little sick. She rested the whole day and was feeling much better, thank God. I have this thing in my head, that something amazing is gonna happen, and I want my best friend to witness it firsthand.
September 18, the day of the taping. I was woken up by Enol's showering and I looked at the time. 5:55 AM. Crap! I meant to wake up an hour early so I could make my sign. It was all I could think of all day and all night. I didn't make it the night before and now I don't have much time left. We prepped in a pretty quick fashion. Thankfully, I already knew what to wear - this hot pink number I recently bought from Vegas. Nothing fancy. It's just that it's pink and Mimi loves pink. I picked up the colored markers and the illustration board I bought from way back (for a Mariah event in the past but I decided last minute not to make it ). The artiste in me practically left the building. All I did was scribble my message on the board and highlighted them in colors. I was actually proud of my work.
We're out the door by 6:50. We're supposed to meet Maria, the fanclub person, on 72nd Street and 5th Ave, by 8 and her instructions were not to be late or she won't wait. Unfortunately, we took the wrong subway train, going to the west side of Central Park, instead of east. We actually had time so we walked, pretty good cardio very early in the morning. We finally met Maria at about 8 and handed us our green wristbands. I also met the other winner, Deniece, who's from Alabama, and her friends. We then went up to the gate at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park.
Around 8:30ish, the gates were open for the VIP section. Each section is marked by the colored wristbands. Security were pretty strict in enforcing the color codes. Luckily, the green wristbands were all the way in the front. Some seats there had names on them and others marked 'reserved.' I was going crazy looking for seats in the green section and the ones left were horrible. But Deniece approached one of the security people and mentioned that we were winners from the fanclub. The security staff made some people on the third row center vacate their current positions and placed us there. I'm like, "Wow! This is amazing!" Enol and I couldn't stop giggling. This is really happening for real!!!
Mariah sang her second single, a remake of Foreigner's hit in 1985, "I Want To Know What Love Is". She came out in the same curly hairdo she's been sporting lately and in all-black ensemble, with a big silver-laden belt and knee-high boots. After her song, Oprah talked about her upcoming movie, Precious, which is being co-executive produced by Oprah herself. The director of the movie, Lee Daniels, was a few seats from us.
It was at this commercial break that I held up my sign. Oprah began to read it, while Mariah is being retouched by her makeup crew. I am very well-versed with Mariah's favorite words and phrases and I made sure I incorporated them in my sign. Oprah kinda read it out loud until the "for the nostalgia" part and Mariah said something that it's kinda her thing. Then Oprah went back to my sign and read the "anniversary" part. "Oh it's your anniversary? With your wife?" She must have seen me fidgeting with Enol. I mouthed that "No, it's my birthday." Mariah then interrupted her and explained that it's her thing too -- Mariah doesn't have birthdays, she has "anniversaries." Mariah said something about doing it after the show but then Oprah asked "How many of you are gonna be in this photo?" I looked at Enol and she shook her head, so I said "Just me." And then she must have said, "Alright, come on up!" I heard people around me saying, "Hurry! Hurry!" My nerves have gone haywire while I dashed like a madman to the stage, raising my hands like I'm a boxer being introduced inside the ring, carelessly taking the few steps up (glad I didn't trip!). Mariah's bodyguard came to meet me on stage and then it happened!
I said, "Hi Mariah!" She said, "Hi, baby!' and we hugged. Oprah was behind us and I said hello to her, too, and thanked her. Enol was already behind ready to take the most precious snapshot ever. Me with Mariah and Oprah! This is not happening! OMG! OMG! Then Oprah left me and Mimi together for the second photo. I thanked her profusely and I must have said I love her so much, I don't remember. I went back to my seat, still shaking in disbelief. What just happened here? Did I just have a photo taken with Mariah and Oprah to boot? Did I just have the moment in front of hundreds of New Yorkers? Did my dream just come true? My quest for about five years has come to fruition?
The show continued with Nick Cannon appearing with his wife in their first TV interview together.
I'm still giddy with all the excitement, folks. I've been smiling all day. I would look at Enol and would recall the experience over and over with a brand new detail each time. I have been staring at the pictures and I still couldn't believe it. Like I've said to Enol, I have been saying my prayers out loud. For the last three days, my wish was that for the Oprah show, I would nab a chance to get a Kodak moment with Mimi. I expressed myself through my sign. I was just thinking positive, that it would really happen.
I'm still in Mimi overload. And what of the picture? Clearly a vision of love!
--Mark, HBF Winner