Thursday, November 6, 2014

RSP 7th Anniversary: Being Marc Copage

"I believe that if you’ve spent a certain amount of time on this planet, if you’ve lived a certain number of years, everybody has at least one good life story to tell and that’s well worth honoring. " Marc Copage

I can't believe it's been 7 years since I wrote the first issue of Real School People, not knowing how much appreciated throughout the years it would become. Real School People is for our demographic exclusively. It’s something that we as Baby Boomers can call our own and we can refer to ourselves as Real School when the term "boomers" gets old. There will never again be a generation like ours.                                           
The first time I met Marc Copage was around the time I  was about 3 years into RSP. However, it really wasn’t the first time I met him, but the second.

I was hanging out with my friend and fellow musician, MoBeeks in Pasadena. Mo and I had jammed on the keyboards at the Guitar Center like a scene from the movie Fame, while my computer guy did an analysis on his computer. We had lunch and then ended up in this ballroom dancing place. That was the second time I met Marc Copage. 

When I met him, he looked so familiar to me. At the time, I didn’t know his name, but I knew his face. I kept telling him that he looked so familiar. He wasn't giving up the goods on who he was and that’s not how I knew him. I insisted, “I know you. I’ve talked to you before. We had a conversation. I just don’t know when it was or where it was.” I continued on, “Sometime in the future I‘ll wake up in the middle of the night and remember where I first met you.” 

We briefly got acquainted, or shall I say re-acquainted? When I spoke with him by phone, I reiterated, “I know I’ve spoken to you before and it’s driving me crazy!” I continued, “It has nothing to do with you being on the show Julia. I know you outside of that.” And that’s pretty much how our friendship began.

And so it happened. Eventually, I DID wake up in the middle of the night and figured it out! It was on the set of Steven Bochco’s Cop Rock in 1990! Marc was a singing cop on 2 episodes of the show and we  had talked briefly while I was on the set. I never forget a face, especially anyone I’ve had a conversation with.

I don’t remember what we talked about back in 1990 and it really doesn't matter, because we've had so many conversations since then. I can say quite candidly that my friend, Marc is a unique individual. And you'll find out how unique when you read his story.

When I first read his story, I went through a myriad of emotions: compassion, understanding, rage, incredulity. At times I found myself laughing at his sense of humor which Marc has a pure abundance of.  My thoughts were, how could such an awesome human being have gone through so much and still been okay? For the child star, there is a perplexing tragedy. And there are two sides to every story.

Marc struggles to retain balance in some of the uniquely unbalanced situations that are his life story. His life and the experience of being a child actor on a ground breaking sitcom that meant so much to so many people will forever be a part of real school history.

In the 3rd anniversary issue of RSP, Marc shared a few words:

"I started out in the entertainment business as a child actor having been featured on a number one Neilson rated television show which ran for three seasons on a major network. There are not many people that can say that at one time they co-starred on a show that was the most watched TV show in the nation.

"Julia" was the first prime-time network television show to feature an independent African American female lead in the title role. I've enjoyed various levels of success throughout my entertainment career. I've stayed in the finest hotels, been given the key to cities, and was even invited to the White House to meet the President of the United States. I've also mopped floors, cleaned toilets for a living, and been nearly homeless. 

You might say I've lived life from top to bottom. I believe that everyone has the capability to make a living doing something they truly enjoy. The opportunities are out there, you just have to love yourself enough to recognize them and seize the moment... I've been lucky enough to have met some amazing people throughout the course of my lifetime. Some of them you may recognize. The best is yet to come."

"Julia" premiered in September 1968. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated a few months earlier on April 4. Tension raged throughout the country due to racial inequality as many urban areas were set ablaze with unrest Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in June at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles...The 60s was a turbulent decade in our history. The nation as a whole was experiencing growing pains.

We were America's youth in the 60s, some of us tweens, some of us teens and some of us just reaching the age of majority and loudly protesting the sounds of war.  Bras were burned in protest of the Miss America Pageant, giving voice to the feminist movement. The Yippie movement was formed by Abbie Hoffman disrupting Wall Street in protest. And Motown, the soundtrack of the 60s, was the sound of Young America. 

We were that Young America. I don't believe the "real school pre" understand that everything new to their generation is really not new at all to us from the real school. Due to the many events experienced in that one tumultuous decade we became a very watched generation as Baby Boomers. Our concept of life is different from any other generation.  Out of the chaos and pushes for justice came many pioneers in technology, science and numerous industries that would evolve into the innovation of creature comforts we know today. 

Marc’s integral part in the Real School marked the beginning of change in the television industry. People of color were seen in commercials and print ads. "Julia" had so much significance to the black community. So it is only fitting that I share Marc’s life story through RSP's 7th anniversary issue. 

He played Corey Baker, Diahann Carroll’s television son, but you will come to know the individual who is Marc Copage through his words, in his dialogue with you and himself. 

This I guarantee: you will become entangled in a myriad of emotions as I did.  There's no way around it. Marc tells his story in a unique and heartwarming way. You’ll feel like you're having a one-on-one conversation with him. You'll become filled with emotions that go upside down, sideways and backwards. You more than likely won't want to stop reading until the last chapter.

So without further ado, as they say, and with much appreciation, my friend, Mr. Marc Copage.

Read his autobiography

Thanks for sharing the journey....

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