3rd Anniversary of Donna Summer’s Death

Today, May 17, 2015 marks the 3rd anniversary of the death and transition to the Ancestors of Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco. I cried that day when I heard the announcement on WBLS 107.5 FM by Shaila and Jeff Foxx. I could not believe she passed away. I still get emotional when I think of her because she grew up listening to her music as a 1980s kid and 1990s teen/young adult. My grandmother Sally always told me how she won so many music awards during the 1970s and the 1980s. I am still upset with many in the African-American community when it came to her tribute or lack of because she was not considered sistergirl to many of them because she was the first African-American music star to get fame without their support although the only Donna Summer songs African Americans like are “Bad Girls” “Hot Stuff” and “She Works Hard for the Money” because those were the songs Black radio played or play of her discography. She was MUCH MORE than those songs. Black radio played these particular ones because they had that funky urban beat the Black radio station executives felt their Black audience wanted to listen to certain kinds of people. The mainstream magazines EBONY, ESSENCE, JET and SISTER 2 SISTER gave Donna minimal to lack of printed space. The print version of ESSENCE boxed her tribute into ONE SMALL PARAGRAPH. When I asked then-Editor-In-Chief Constance White why Donna did not receive the PROPER tribute she should have received, she gave me a generic response that the online version gave her the tribute. That was cute but not everyone could afford a computer nor had access to one to see the online version tribute to Donna. The digital divide is another issue but the Black magazines went way out for Whitney Houston, whom the African American community considered more sistergirl for three reasons: (1) Whitney married R&B bad boy Bobby Brown so she got street cred, (2) Whitney had a Black daughter who was wildin out, (3) Whitney had drug issues and (4) Whitney was GHETTO despite the pop princess image America wanted her to have. Even Dyana Williams from the hit TV-One documentary UNSUNG had the nerve to state how Evelyn Champagne King was more of a sister than Donna Summer when she gave her two-cents on the Evelyn Champagne King episode. Her comment has since been edited due to public outcry from Donna’s fans. Donna and Evelyn were TWO different Black female singers in their own right. Donna did not get a widespread tribute from the Black community because (1) she was STILL married to Bruce Sudano, the SAME husband for over 30 years and he happened to be a Brooklyn Italian, (2) Donna’s children, Mimi Sommer Duhler, Brooklyn Sudano and Amando Sudano, who happen to be Biracial, NEVER wilded out in the media and are living successful lives, (3) Donna did not have a drug problem and (4) Donna had legions of LGBT fans despite her being accused of making a false comment regarding homosexuality and HIV/AIDS (it was proven that she did not make that comment). Donna paved the way for Whitney but she did not get the same fanfare she did when she died. I bet Black people will start loving her if and when Kelly Rowland or Tasha Smith would play her in a movie. I am still waiting for a biopic of her to be made. Donna Summer is one of my favorite female musicians of all-time and I do not care what people say and think of it. Donna’s music still lives on through her family, close friends and associates and her worldwide legion of fans. RIP Donna Summer (1948-2002)

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