I struggled whether to write a post on the incomparable Lena Horne. Many bloggers, writers, news outlets, etc., had given their eulogies and heart felt sentiments on her passing, and I didn’t want to add to the fray of dedications. But as it was pointed out on Twitter when I shared this with my followers, I was told that Lena deserved my ‘honorable mention’ despite what had already been said. They were right. (Thank you @YumeFulfilled and @Tojosan)
One of my fondest memories was of my grandmother cleaning on a Saturday morning playing Lena Horne, more specifically, her stirring rendition of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’. The record was haunting. At 4 or 5 years of age, I was a student of music and delivery and her voice on the record made me weep. My grandmother would play it over and over and I would just sit and stare and listen. I didn’t know who the woman on the record was but even before I had seen her, she was the most beautiful woman in the world to me.
I later saw Lena Horne on an episode of Sesame Street when she was singing to Grover. My grandmother pointed out that this was the woman “who’s voice made you cry”.
I had a special relationship with Lena Horne and she didn’t even know me and I didn’t even know her. There was a connection, albiet one-sided.
When I first heard of her death on Twitter, I tweeted that I hoped it was not true. I combed the Internet and saw no valid links about Lena’s passing so I attributed it to a rumor.
About an hour or so later, my Twitter stream was filled with RIP Lena Horne passages. Then I saw the link on CNN and knew it was true. The woman with the voice, the face, the brains, the heart, the style, the grace, the elegance, is no longer with us.
Lena, I will miss you. But you will continue to live in the wonderful body of work that you left us with. You lived a full life and broke many barriers for your people. A true pioneer, we salute you.
‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ will always be one of my favorite songs of all time, and it’s because of Lena that made me love it.
Rest in Peace, Lena Horne.
Hollywood Tribute Pics: