“I’m a diva when it’s time to be a diva. When I leave the stage, I’m the lady next door.” – Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018
The spirit of Aretha Franklin pervaded our home growing up in South Central, Los Angeles. On most days, we relied on the strength and the integrity of her voice. She was family!
Aretha was six years older than me. We were both Aries. We each had children in our teens, grew up in inner cities, lost our fathers to gun violence, and were raised in the church. Like my mother, Aretha played piano and sang, and like my sister, Aretha died of pancreatic cancer.
Unlike Aretha, I couldn’t sing, yet through her example, I felt like a diva – like I could do anything! I could Day Dream, Feel Like a Natural Woman, Think, know when The Thrill is Gone, and Rock Steady. Through her, I knew the meaning of Bridge Over Troubled Water, learned from a Chain of Fools, knew how to demand Respect, and to Say A Little Prayer For You – all from her uncompromising and powerful sensuality! Thank you, my dear sister, for teaching me how to meet suffering truthfully and without apology.
We all know of Aretha’s global fame, and more personally, of the healing power of her voice! Ears and hearts open when she opened her mouth!
May those who grieve her loss remember her generosity; how she shared her soul so that we could have one, and live more honestly and joyfully. Rejoice! Her legacy is soul – undying!