• Carmen Milligan

Why they mean something to us

My very bestest buddy, Deanne, was devastated when Princess Diana was killed. I mean, wear-black-for-a-month-talk-of-little-else-watch-every-minute-of-footage-believe-it-was-a-conspiracy-blame-the-royals devastated. She still feels the loss deeply.

That got me thinking about celebrity deaths that have affected me. I even called Deanne, and then her sister Allie, to talk about this, bringing up celebrity names, and gauging and comparing our reactions. It was interesting. All three of us felt the same about many of the names that we mentioned.

I brought this up at the Family Lunch Table one week, and my dad didn't really understand, questioning why this, do you mean that, and just in general being unsuccessful at making me feel marginalized for my feelings. Needless to say, I dropped the subject at lunch. However, I knew that I was not alone after talking to Deanne and Allie. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Celebrities play an important role in our lives, and, like it or not, we form emotional attachments to them, or at least to whom we think they are. They provide entertainment, relaxation, and, in a broad sense, the backdrop to our everyday lives. With that explanation *Dad*, here are a few that impacted me.

Freddie Mercury - I sat in my Columbus, Georgia bedroom and played "News of the World" over and over on my turntable. I loved the album art, with the robot's finger dripping blood. It would be years later before I fully understood the brilliance and the showmanship of this lead singer. And don't even get me started on the "Live from Wimberley" show in 1986. Iconic. I can't imagine what Freddie would think about actor Rami Malek, who portrayed Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), for which he won the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and British Academy Film Award for Best Actor. I think he was probably eating popcorn and drinking Dom Perignon while watching all of the awards being bestowed on someone playing HIM.

David Bowie - This hit me because someone I love, my fabulous friend Ronnie (whom I met the first day of my first year of freshman year in high school, in math class with the horrid Mrs. Taylor, whom I am sure was actually a very nice woman). Ronnie loved David Bowie's music, lyrics, stage presence, and everything else. When he died, Ronnie was devastated, and because Ronnie was devastated, I was devastated. I have since cultivated a more appreciative mentality to this

Prince - I don't know what to say here except that the death of Prince hit so many people in such a profound way that a hit television show dedicated an entire episode to the brilliance of this artist. Seriously, if you haven't watched the "Black*ish" episode titled, "Purple Rain", stop reading now and go to YouTube to watch. Also, the best Super Bowl half-time show ever. In the pouring rain. In heels. Hell, yes. Any small man who could wear leather, lace, heals, and Jheri Curl hair, and still make every woman want to be with him? Again I say: HELL, YES.

George Michael - "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" was the first year of my college days. I remember my friend Jamie and I were driving on Pratt Avenue, and I was singing and dancing in the passenger seat. A group of blue collar workers pulled up next to us at a red light, and by the time the light was green, all of them were also dancing and singing along with the song, which I had turned up so we could all hear it. The fact that throughout his career George Michael fought against the constraints put on him as an "artist" by his record label, had to defend his sexuality after being arrested during what I can only say was a set-up, and continued to reinvent himself and his music to appeal to newer audiences is a testament to his raw talent. Plus, he was fine as hell.

These are the ones who have affected me the most. There are others that are to come that will impact me hard. I will write about those in a later post. In the meantime, let me know which celebrity deaths have impacted you. I'm interested to see how you feel about this.

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