It’s no coincidence that on yesterday’s cake run, (a run to get my boss her surprise Bday cake that is, not an actual sprint involving cake consumption), that I bumped into a mural of my childhood idol, the late Michael Jackson. I was enjoying the sun, the city, and a walk with a work-bestie. Catching a glimpse of MJ was just the icing on top.
Michael literally taught me everything I know about dancing, syncopation, and perfectionism (for better or for worse). I briefly paid homage, mourned his loss, and exalted his talents, as the king of pop, on my Instagram feed.
Today, with hearts full of sorrow, and feet full of a soul, we say goodbye to another icon lost: The queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. Her music is the soundtrack for of so many people whether black, white, brown, young, old, or in between. She commanded respect and celebrated her femininity. Her catalog of music, recorded performances, and TV appearances will undoubtedly live on forever.
When you look back at what you’ve created, do you ever wonder for how long it will stay relevant? Do you wonder if someone decades beyond will stumble upon it and bask in its magnificence? I think that’s what many creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders hope to achieve: an indelible mark on the blip of existence. To leave the world a little or a lot better than they found it. To be seen and heard. To be a beacon of servitude and true impact.
As a writer I’m always wondering if my message is hitting home, if I’m helping anyone gain a new perspective, or making them feel seen and related to. It is something I try to pull into other areas of my life as well.
When you understand your own desire to be seen, heard, and understood, you comprehend the importance of letting others feel understood, heard, related to. Aretha Franklin empowered woman to demand RESPECT, if even just during Karaoke. She made woman feel, strong in their femininity, if even just singing Natural Woman in their shower. She was an expert at her craft, a powerhouse, but most of all relatable and unwavering. A diva that enjoyed the simple things in life, as well as success, and did so with style, grace, and no apologies.
As a creative you owe it to yourself to create the art, the products, the content, and the services that leave your clients, community, and industry moved and affected. That is my wish and mission. I know it is yours too. May we all make our legendary mark and may you carry on in your greatness.
Rest in love Aretha Franklin.