Tears for a Queen — a Black One! — Who’s Alive and Well
Speaking of once-in-a-generation moments, let’s talk about Sheryl Lee Ralph winning an Emmy.
The Queen Is Dead.
The first time I ever read those words, I was staring at the cover a 1986 album by the British rock band The Smiths. It took 36 years for those four words to become a real-life headline, and when they finally did, no-one I know was celebrating. (The album’s title song, for those who have never heard it, is a brutal condemnation of the British monarchy with lyrics written and sung by The Smiths’ frontman, staunch anti-royalist Morrissey.)
A number of my friends — all of them American, all of them White — reached out to tell me how devastated they were by Elizabeth II’s passing on September 8 at age 96. For many, the world has stopped turning. (One of my friends actually used that analogy to describe how she felt in this historic moment.) But not for me. I’ve never felt any connection to Elizabeth II, and I’d be lying if I said I am in mourning. Maybe the passing of Olivia Newton-John several weeks ago took all the mourning out of me.
Or maybe it’s just that I don’t really have any reason to mourn right now. I’ve seen countless documentaries about Queen Elizabeth II over the years and, in the past week, I’ve listened to and read numerous eulogies and obituaries. They’ve all emphasized her dignity and her dedication to the role into which she was born. Elizabeth II, by all accounts, was great for her country.
Did she make the world a better place? That’s a complicated question to answer, but if we were talking about Princess Diana, it would be an easier one. That might be partly why Diana’s death 25 years ago shattered me in a way no famous person’s death did until Olivia Newton-John’s.
Goodbye, Olivia. Goodbye, Youth.
For me, the pop culture icon was so much more than Grease and “Physical.”
If I’ve shed any tears this week (and I have), they’ve had nothing to do with the news of the century. Several people I know have pointed out that we are living through a pivotal moment in…