Lena Horne, 1917-2010

I have a very poor memory. I'm forever the girl who, when her friends say, "Remember that?, responds "....No?". I just don't have a memory for events. But I do remember being young and one day on Sesame Street there was this woman. And she sang with Kermit, and I thought that she must be a queen, because with every fiber of her body she carried herself like one, and I wanted to step into that television, and curl at her feet, and listen to her, and look into those extraordinary eyes.

I have many favorite singers; I wish I could sing like Rosemary Clooney, I wish I had the grit and stomp of Bessie Smith. But above all, I wish for the regal, defiant, elegant fire of Lena Horne. She may be allowing you to listen to her, but she'll be damned if you ever own her. Take the time, if you have it, to read about her dignity and defiance in the face of segregation and racism during her Hollywood career.

Goodbye, Lena. My world shines a little less brightly having lost you.