I had a different blog post planned for today but then The Queen gained her angel wings yesterday and everything changed.
I wish I could remember exactly when I knew she was embodying a spirit that we had never seen and would never see again. I can remember, as a child, my grandmother would play some of her hits on the record player. She always loved listening to artist with very distinct voices. Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Louise Franklin immediately come to mind when that category is brought up.
Yesterday, like a lot of you, I spent the day listening to The Queen’s enormously long list of hit songs. From gospel classics to movie tunes to commands of respect, I sang loudly while also marveling at her even longer list of accomplishments.
First woman inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame
Over 75 million records sold worldwide
112 charted Billboard singles – making her the most charted female artist of all time
Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Kennedy Center honoree
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
Street named after her in her hometown of Detroit
And one of my favorite accolades, Civil Rights Activist, which many are oblivious to. I am not going to lay that out for you. Google it cause you need to know. You need to know your history and if you do not share in this rich melanated skin tone that I have you can still Google it because you need to know Our history.
When Michael Jackson announced his “This Is It” tour, I immediately became excited. I, like almost everyone else in the world, had long been a fan but had never seen him perform live. I knew the ticket prices would be priced beyond what I knew I could afford at the time but I was willing to consider it.
And before I could get that once in a lifetime experience, he left us way too soon.
Not long after that, I started on a quest. A quest to know more. To learn more. To appreciate more. I no longer just wanted to be a fan. I wanted to understand what made some of our musical legends who they are today.
I wanted to know the background stories. I wanted to know the humble beginnings. And I wanted to know the things I never even considered that they had experienced.
The more I read, the more I felt a need to keep digging. This digging ultimately led me to create a list. A list of legends that I wanted to see in concert before their precious time ended.
If you read my MC Hammer blog post last week then you know I went to my first concert at the age of nine. His showed hooked me, reeled me in and made concerts a constant in my life.
In my teenage years and early twenties, I was heavily into hip-hop and r&b and my concert attendance reflected it. Boyz II Men, New Edition, TLC, Montell Jordan, Outkast, Big Pun, LL, Busta, Usher, John Legend, Kanye, Jay-Z, Doug E. Fresh, Whodini, Kid n Play, 112, Diddy, etc.
I have always liked a variety of musical genres and as I grew, my desire to see the artist who started their careers long before I was born surfaced.
So I made my list and it only had five names on it. Patti. Stevie, Prince. Gladys. Aretha. And Janet Jackson. Hey, I had never seen her live!
I knew the chances of checking those artists off my list were slim because they do not perform much anymore – at least as far as touring goes. But I was hoping, just hoping, things would align and I would get to cross them off the list one by one.
As of right now, my list only has one person left on it. Gladys.
With a smile on my face, I can say I have seen Ms. Patti, Stevie and the late great Prince Rogers Nelson aka His Royal Purpleness in concert. Their showmanship, stage presence and knack for keeping a crowd on their feet from start to finish is a talent that cannot be taught.
Sadly, I never got to see The Queen in person but that does not stop me from appreciating the greatness that she is and always will be.
These musical icons, legends deserve our love, honor and respect. The ones that are still amongst us need to be showered with adoration, reverence and all the lifetime achievement awards that are out there.
They have given so much. They have sacrificed so much. They have endured so much.
They have earned this.
Give them what they are due.
While you can.
Fly high, Queen. Rest in Heavenly peace.