I was glad to see that Gladys Knight and Earth Wind and Fire are among the headliners at the Essence Music Festival this July 2, 3, and 4. Every Baby Boomer who can beg, borrow, or earn the fare to New Orleans plus the cost of admission should attend. The message that we support the music of our youth has to be sent. It’s not enough to have a few Generation X and Y’ers declaring that they are “old school”. Old Schoolers, themselves, have to come out and show support wherever and whenever our celebrities are appearing.
It gets harder and harder to find current news on Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick, Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen. Aren’t they going to events, award shows, galas? The press is full of news and photos of 20, 30, and 40 somethings. Are older stars there? What are they wearing? Who are they with? We have the capacity to spend money on age appropriate entertainment for our generation and there needs to be a hue and cry to provide it; and if it’s out there then it needs to receive significant publicity.
This May’s Essence Magazine features a spread on mothers and daughters and shows beautiful photos of Beverly Johnson, Alfre Woodard, and Vanessa Williams and their daughters. This was quite refreshing since most other magazines cater to a much younger readership. Those that are directed at our generation focus on health, retirement, and medicare. All vital subjects, but there is more to life. At least there is to mine.
The urban community has always been able to count on Essence to keep women and men attuned to the pulse of not only us but the world. Next month, the magazine will celebrate its fortieth anniversary and I am proud to say that I have been with them since the beginning.
Here’s something interesting. What about a show where Dionne sings Alicia Keys, or Smokey or Howard Hewitt sing Usher? Can you imagine Chaka Khan singing Beyonce? I’d pay to see that. Tyler Perry, how about writing something for the older stars?
What do you think? Should these stars just fade away or is it possible that we might support them if they staged a musical or theatrical comeback?