Blogs have been eating legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin alive for committing a celebrity faux pas. Did she curse out a reporter? Did she knock a camera out of the hands of an intrusive paparazzi? No and no.
Ms. Franklin is guilty of wearing the same piece of clothing twice in the same week. To some, this is no crime but to those who see celebrities as objects of perfection and have the expectation of them never acting human this is an abomination.
Sure, it is unusual to see someone of Franklin’s stature and financial stability wearing the same outfit twice in one week. I get it. At the same time, I resist the urge to mock Franklin’s appearance for several reasons. One being that Franklin is an older woman and I see her as I would any other elder, with respect. I resist the urge to snicker and giggle at an older person’s mistakes, childlike behavior, forgetfulness etc. Why? Because they are, in fact, older individuals and with time comes the wear-and-tear of life that sometimes deteriorates even the most intelligent person’s mind and capabilities.
Second, I was taught not to remark negatively on the actions of my elders. Especially if they are not causing harm to others or themselves.
Third, I realize my own mortality and the fact is that one day I, too, will be an old lady and I might want to wear white after Labor Day. Who knows?
Finally, she is Aretha Franklin! Hello! She is the Queen of Soul. She is one of the few African-American entertainers in history whose career has never been tarnished with cattiness, scandal or addiction. She usually keeps her name out of controversy. You have to respect her for that.
Frankly, once you reach a certain level of maturity in life, you have the right to do as you please. Of course, this is within reason. As long as you are not harming yourself or others. If this 70-something-year-old woman wants to wear the same outfit for seven days straight then allow her. It is her clothing, her body, and her right. We should be thrilled that at her age she is still able to think for herself and dress herself. So many people of her age require much more assistance for the smallest task.
My final assessment is for everyone to cut Aretha some slack. If she starts to forget to bathe, fix her wig perfectly, and wears the same outfit for weeks at a time then we should start to worry.
*Franklin first wore her spaghetti-strapped evening gown to the 2010 Tony Awards on Sunday evening, June 13. She wore it again the next night, Monday, June 14, to the Apollo Theater’s Spring Benefit Concert.*
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