Let’s just say, several. Perhaps too many. But I can’t help it! Team Susan all the way!

Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent
Uploaded by dwarthy

As my homie E-Fresh who just moved to South Korea told me — you know something’s an international phenomenon when people are gathering around computers in South Korea to watch. That’s the same story in Trinidad where I’m from, all over the United States, and around the world. Millions have watched Susan Boyle defy expectations and make television history. As she admitted in her first interview on Scottish TV, it’s left Susan absolutely gobsmacked.

Susan Boyle’s tale would inspire just about anyone, but I know women for whom it means even more. It actually irked me quite a bit to hear the comments the judges unabashedly blurted out to her. “When you stood there with that cheeky grin and said, ‘I want to be like Elaine Paige’, everyone was laughing at you,” said Piers Morgan. Well gee thanks, Mr. Morgan. What a mindlessly rude thing to say, right?

The standard response to Susan Boyle thus far has been tearful surprise that a regular-looking single woman in her 40’s 1. has the voice of an angel, and 2. has proven the world and it’s embarrassing assumptions wrong. As a bella with many strong, opinionated, beautiful relatives who have happily chosen to live their lives much as Susan Boyle has – single, childless, helping to care for their parents as they grow older — I call BS on these saccharine, self-congratulatory responses to Susan’s success.

Cosign with The Guardian and Jezebel — the reaction to Susan Boyle’s talent reveals far more about modern society’s judgmental nature. The haters at the NY Post agreed, but then went on to question the veracity of the polished reality TV show clip itself:

…it seems cynical, churlish even, to speculate about the machinations behind this phenomenon. But it remains true that this clip, and Boyle’s rendition, would not be so compelling without the contradictions: the beautiful voice possessed by this defiantly unglamorous woman, who can somehow fully inhabit and interpret a love song without ever having been in love.”

I agree. It does seem cynical and churlish.

I’d like to believe that somehow the we’ll all learn a thing or two from Susan Boyle, to not judge books by their covers. But I know better. So instead, I sincerely hope she enjoys real success, and I hope she doesn’t let the fame machine change her too much. Like she told the Times Online in a charming interview:

Maybe I’ll consider a makeover later on,” she laughs. “For now I’m happy the way I am — short and plump. I would not go in for Botox or anything like that. I’m content with the way I look. What’s wrong with looking like Susan Boyle? What’s the matter with that?

Absolutely nothing! Susan’s an inspiration to real, regular women everywhere. This 1999 cover of Cry Me a River that Susan did for a long forgotten charity CD proves she’s more than a one-trick pony. I know this won’t be the last we hear of her, not by a long shot. Next stop Oprah!

Are you a fan of Susan Boyle, bellas? How many times have you watched the video?


afroamericawriter says:
April 20, 2009, 1:44 am
I wrote about the Susan Boyle story on my blog on Saturday. I've watched the story several times on TV when the showed it and about five times on You Tube (the full-length) version. Sure I know there's some "reality show magic" working me as a viewer but it doesn't make the story less compelling. I titled my post that day as "Never Judge A Book By Its Cover."
Farah says:
April 20, 2009, 2:17 am
I loved the video, but for the voice. I know this sounds arrogant, but I knew from her speaking voice that she would be able to sing (and I suspect many other musically trained people would have felt the same) and from the way she walked that she had performed before. Even the way she marched off stage--this was someone who needed n one's approval. In a weird way, I think *she* set them up, and that's what makes it so magic.
Caramel says:
April 20, 2009, 3:41 am
My dad showed me this performance a couple of days ago. I'm ashamed to say that I did what most people did, I saw her looks and quirky attitude and assumed she was talentless. When she sung my jaw dropped and my eyes popped out of my head. I can't believe how cynical I had become! She reminded me that talent and beauty come in many different packages and hopefully she has done the same for other people.
Lia says:
April 20, 2009, 8:29 am
I think it is great that Ms Boyle was encouraged to share her talent however, why all the fuss. How many churches services have not showcased such talents yet somehow this is supposed to be different. We all know that the Music, Fashion and Beauty industries are filled with mediocre talent with glossy packaging which often triumphs over the more talented with simple packaging. This has always been the case and the more we become obsessed with a person's exterior the more this will continue. Was Beyonce the most talented Destiny's Child? How come footballers never describe David Beckham as a great footballer? Do you really listen to Cassie in your ipod? As people of colour should we not recognise the same old story. Let us not be fooled by "good" television. The questions we should be asking are why is Simon Cowell on our television screens all year round? Why are we being fed a diet of drivel? Where is the space for films, plays & dramas. Instead of wall-wall reality programmes. How many people can remember the new talents once the new season has begun. I think what we are creating is a new global icon - Simon Cowell I almost feel like I'm in a Michael Crichton thriller.
Kandeezie says:
April 20, 2009, 9:43 am
I agree with Lia! I'm glad that she's reminding us that true talent exists. But I'm also saddened by the fact that we have let a wave of corporate interests promote mediocre talent to the forefront because they can be made into shiny dolls. The plastic beauty standards creep up on you slowly, changing how we view ourselves and each other, as to why Susan has shocked us all. I really hope this is our reality check. But then again, we all know better...this too shall pass. Sad.
Kindred Smile says:
April 20, 2009, 10:05 am
Thank you bella, for sharing this. Apparently, I live in a deep, dark cave because this was the first time I've heard of Susan or seen the clip. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm going to watch it at least 6 more times today. At least!
Kiara says:
April 20, 2009, 10:39 am
I saw this on the news.She did what God wanted her to do,and now she is receiving her blessings.I wish her nothing but much success.
Pearlsrevealed says:
April 20, 2009, 10:45 am
This surprising unveiling of sheer talent has struck a cord for sure! I first heard of it at a management meeting on Thursday. The CEO of our organization played the video for nearly 400 managers at a big meeting. Then my pastor played the video yesterday at church to support his sermon on assuming your god-given position and using your spiritual gifts to help others. There is also another Youtube audio clip of her singing a song called "cry a river" on a 1999 charity ablum. She already sounds like a jazz legend on that cut. Tonight will be my first time doing something that I longed to do but never tried to make it work because it conflicted with my work schedule. Last Wednesday, I discussed the matter with my boss and she was extremely supportive. I now will work the 1st shift every Monday ( I have always worked 2nd & 3rd shifts) so that I can have fulfill this desire. I agree with Kandeezie and I hope her success is not a fluke and radio will get back to playing good music whether the artist has a video or is attractive or not.
paradisebird says:
April 20, 2009, 1:16 pm
my co worker sent this to me a few days ago and i was blown away in the middle of my workday. this woman gave me taers in my eyes and goosebumps all over every time i listen. she gave the audience something to listen to and something to think about. you are right, afrobella, this woman has not only the voice of an angel but also the strength and, yes beauty! love this!!!!
BlackHoney says:
April 20, 2009, 2:20 pm
Can you write about aliens, if you've never met one? Can one write about prison escapes, shoot-outs and murders having never been involved in either? Can an actress vividly portray a drug addicted mother when she is childless and never taken a drink in her life? In the whole scheme of things, singing about love and never been in love seems like an easy thing to do. But who's to say that Susan has never been in love. You can be in madly in love with someone and not have those feelings reciprocated. Anyhoo. I cried and cried tears of joy for Susan and all the late bloomers in life. It just shows why you should hold on to your dream. I can just Susan practicing and practicing with the brush in front of her mirror, waiting for this day. Go Susan go!!!!!!!!!
Laquita says:
April 20, 2009, 2:47 pm
She is very inspirational - reminds us that it's never too late to pursue our dreams :o)
LBell says:
April 20, 2009, 8:22 pm
I'm glad you posted the 1999 audio track because as good as her performance was on the show, THAT recording made my jaw drop to the floor. I posted this elsewhere but I'll repeat it here: Most of the singing legends of the last 100 YEARS would NEVER have gotten a recording contract today. Just to name one example: Ella Fitzgerald was no Lena Horne in the face but seriously...while Lena was definitely talented, whose music do you think will still be played 200 years from now? This can be extended pretty much across the board: What are the odds that the cure for cancer might have been found by a Somali child who, instead of starving to death, had been given the best possible nutrition, education, and care from birth? SO much potential is wasted on this planet...
Loved_By_Him says:
April 20, 2009, 11:53 pm
I never get tired of watching that video. It just makes me smile and warms my heart whenever I see her give her best even though people were snickering at her. The looks on the judges faces are prices. I am going to watch the video again. LOL.
Kiegirl says:
April 21, 2009, 6:03 am
I had not seen this clip before but thought it was amazing - especially Amanda's jaw dropping when Susan starting showing what she was made of. Kudos to her for having the courage to face what she must have known were people making fun of her looks confident in the talent God gave her. That is truly inspiring to me. Thanks again for sharing AB = )
God In Me says:
April 21, 2009, 1:11 pm
This woman blew me away! Definitely didn't expect it. Check out the ladies of Mary Mary in their hot new video. Maybe this lady can sing with them! :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70W_umYLq9k
SoFrolushes says:
April 21, 2009, 6:02 pm
win or lose the uk and the world has spoken she will do well in britains got talent. Though I am rooting for the hip dance troupe Flawless. but yeah with Susan the uk is really harsh and tend to have one look. all the gmtv presenters look the same blonde woman etc. to think people always speak badly of reality tv shows
pets says:
April 21, 2009, 11:53 pm
Susan's a bloody fantastic singer and not too shabby as a person either..she has a great sense of humour and that is refreshing.
Miss X says:
April 22, 2009, 3:51 am
She's definitely a good singer. But I guess I'm one who has not been totally won over by the corporatizing of beauty, art, and culture, so I had no preconceptions about whether this woman had talent before she she started to sing. Her appearance didn't say much to me more than she's a bit dowdy. Looks have nothing to do with singing talent. In fact, I now fully expect the people churned out by the music industrial complex to be fairly talentless but glamourous and gleaming. The surprise people have at her ability to sing is kind of disturbing to me. Are we really saying that this woman singing well in a talent show has become a worldwide phenomenon because she's not considered beautiful or because she's older? Maybe everyone needs a history lesson. Let's all go pull out (or look up on the internet) album covers from any decade preceding the 1990s and we'll see lots or regular looking folks who could sing their asses off. It was talent and substance that made those people successful singers and, in my mind, still do. Now, if she had busted out some Nina Simone or Chaka Khan I might have been blown away.