Yesterday the music industry lost a timeless and fierce spirit. The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76. Fans and admires from all over took to social media to mourn and celebrate the life and legacy of a phenomenal woman. As I scrolled down my timeline, watched the news and listened to family members reminisce on their first introduction to Aretha, I couldn’t help but to think, are we celebrating our legends enough while they are here with us?
There was one Instagram post in particular that sparked this thought and it came from the 44th President Barack Obama. Under a series of pictures of Aretha, Obama wrote, “America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring”, he then went on to say, ” Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade- our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.”
His words to describe her divine spirit and immense talent hit me. How often do we take Icons like her for granted? For Example, I still remember the impact that Michael Jackson’s death had on not only the music industry, but the world! I remember it like it was yesterday, I was in Atlantic City, New Jersey at my sisters High School graduation when the news broke on CNN. Covered in sheer shock all I could do was cry and listen to his entire catalog. The King of Pop was really gone!
Looking back, maybe I cried because I took him and his accomplishments for granted. Since then I’ve asked myself, did we love on him enough while he was here, or did we judge and persecute him like everyone else did.
Unlike Michael Jackson I do believe Aretha Franklin was celebrated and received every bit of her R.E.S.P.E.C.T. What life teaches us is that death is inevitable, so I implore all of us to continue to lift up our icons and loved ones while we still have them.
Now someone go love on Patti Labelle, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and any other great that I did not mention!