Sunday, December 12, 2010

We're Praying for You, Aretha...

There has always been something about Aretha Franklin that has made her seem like a big sister. Certainly the Queen of Soul, a designation that she always appeared to wear comfortably, like a favorite, familiar and stylish suit. But there has always been a comfort about her presence, in the sense that she has always been here. In the back of the minds of some of us, no matter the new celebrity singer or star, Beyonce, Whitney, Mariah or whomever, there was the inevitable, if unexpressed comparison to Aretha...



And still to those of us with the Black Church in our background, Aretha is more familiar still. Hers is a voice that calls to mind those Sundays spent in worship when we grew up, a voice so familiar to us all that we would inevitably say about someone who sung in some church choir somewhere, 'She sounds just like Aretha...'

The news that Aretha Franklin has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is sobering and saddening. Not just because so many of us have loved and admired her from afar, but because she has been such an iconic figure across nearly every genre of music to which we've listened and by which we've been entertained.

It's seems incredibly trite to say it during times like this. But during times like this (and any time, for that matter), it's the very best we can do and say...

We're praying for you, Aretha...

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