Over the holiday weekend, I took a quick break from beachin’ and BBQin’ and checked my email, and lo and behold, there was an unsolicited YouTube link from my best friend with the subject line, “LOLZ for dayz.” I followed the link to find a clip from the Miss America Pageant in 1990 in which Miss Arkansas Nicole Bethmann busted out a famous Broadway ditty: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the hugely successful Dreamgirls. Sure, the robust Jennifer Holiday made it famous on stage (see her insane performance of the song at the 1982 Tony Awards); later, Jennifer Hudson sang it in the film version (and won an Oscar for her performance). But apparently the song, one of the few famous Broadway showtunes written for an African-American actress, has found a home in the trilling vocals of a somewhat less soulful group of people: white women. Check out a treasury of performances here, and spend the rest of your day figuring out the racial dynamic at play here.
Here’s the one that started it all: as one YouTube commenter points out, this is more like, “I Am Politely Telling You I’m Not Going,”