So, now having had a few days to process Aretha’s funeral (and my obsession with it), I’ve got a few things to say. Skip this if you’re done with all the explication.
1. The very first thing I noticed (other than Mother Cicely’s hat) was the dearth of women on the dais and in the pulpit. Even the incomparable Rev. Shirley Caesar was off to the side. The black church in America is gifted with many brilliant female theological minds. Where were they? I thought maybe this was how Aretha planned it but as the service went on, I was clear this was someone else’s plan. Was this the black church AGAIN sublimating the worth and work of women when the cameras are rolling?
2. To further that point, are all the soldiers in the Lord’s Army female? The crowd shots became more and more female dominated over the hours. Apparently, only black women have the stamina for this kind of thing.
3. Again, did Aretha not have “Good Good Girlfriends”? I think most of us are so used to the patriarchy that we did not notice the sheer unfathomable lack of women’s voices in an eight-hour funeral for a WOMAN. How is this possible? Let me tell you something RIGHT NOW, if you can’t find women to speak over my body when I’m dead then don’t bother to celebrate me at all. Bury me in the cold dark ground and be done with it.
4. And where was Aretha’s family during this marathon? I know precious nothing about her relationship with them from this funeral. Besides the questionable choice of song by her son and the two minutes per grandkid, the family reflections were sparse. Did they have a separate private ceremony where they didn’t have to listen to people talk about how their mama only liked to be paid in cash?
Finally, all this begs the question — who planned this funeral beyond the musical artists? I have heard the talk about how Aretha handpicked every artist. I was there for that, and it didn’t disappoint. The clearest picture of who she was showed up in those performances. Y’all can focus on the pop stars if you like. However, as a child of the black church, those gospel artists stole the show. But who picked the speakers? And who decided who sat where? If Minister Louis Farrakhan can sit in the pulpit of a Christian church then women should be able to as well.
This originally appeared on Ms. Deberry’s Facebook page and is reprinted with her permission.
The hunt is on for the “senior administration official” that allegedly penned a negative op-ed for The New York Times. Several questions arise from this.
First, just what is a “senior” administration official? With the wide range of titles and fiefdoms that abound in the capital it could be just about anyone with a pay grade above GS9.
The second question is just how close to the throne is the perp? Close enough to attend cabinet meetings and swipe documents off the presidential desk?
Most important is the question of motive. What’s in it for them. No one does anything without a motive be it naïve altruism or personal gain, or both. Idealism, revenge, power, fame, wealth (book deal) are all on the table. The truth will be apparent when the author is identified.
It has never been beyond the press to report fabricated events or documents. Publishers Henry Luce, Horace Greeley and William Randolph Hearst were never above spinning events, enlarging them or even creating them. A completely unbiased press is a myth. Guessing where the bias lies is usually not easy, but when someone calls you names and is consistently disparaging toward you it might be difficult not to respond in kind. On the other hand, the letter might be accurate. Until the author is exposed we’ll never know for sure. I give it two weeks at most.
Robert L. Porreca