Archive | Obituaries

Opening of the New Law Year 2018 to 2019- Saint Christopher and Nevis

Opening of the New Law Year 2018 to 2019 – Saint Christopher and Nevis

 

Opening of the New Law Year 2018 to 2019- Saint Christopher and Nevis

On Tuesday 18th September 2018, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court will commence the New Law Year 2018/2019 with its usual Ceremonial Opening in the form of a Special Sitting of the Court in Saint Christopher & Nevis.  There will be simultaneous special sittings in the other eight (8) Member States and Territories of the OECS.The proceedings will commence with a church service in each Member State and Territory followed by the procession to the High Court where the formal sitting will be held.  In Saint Christopher & Nevis, the Church Service will be held at the Zion Moravian Church, located at Victoria Road, Basseterre, St. Kitts, commencing at 8:00 am, followed by the inspection of the Guard of Honour and the formal Court Sitting which will be held at High Court.

The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE will deliver the Opening Address at 10:00 a.m. from Saint Christopher & Nevis where the Court of Appeal is scheduled for its first sitting in the New Law Year.

The theme for the opening of the Law Year’s address is Challenges, Opportunities and Resilience: The ECSC paving the way to a Modern and Efficient Judiciary for the Eastern Caribbean

The Chief Justice’s address will be carried live via simulcast to the other Member States and Territories of the OECS and will also be broadcast throughout the region via the local media.

The public is encouraged to participate in the Ceremonial Opening of the Law Year 2018/2019 by attending either the church service or the special sitting or by listening to your local radio station.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967. The (ECSC) is a superior court of record for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including six independent states: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and three British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat). It has unlimited jurisdiction in each member State.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Local, News, Obituaries, OECS, Regional0 Comments

CARICOM SG praises late Montserrat chief minister

CARICOM SG praises late Montserrat chief minister

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Sept 14, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin La Rocque, Wednesday described the former Montserrat chief minister, Bertrand Osborne as a person of “integrity, honesty and trustworthiness”.

Bertrand Osborne (File Photo)

Osborne, who served as chief minister of the volcano-ravaged British Overseas Territory for a nine month period in the 1990’s, died last Tuesday. He was 83 year-old.

Osborne, a prominent businessman, served as chief minister from November 1996 to August 1997. He resigned after he came under severe criticism from politicians and demonstrators alike for being too pro-British, and for failing to negotiate firmly enough with London over an aid package after the eruption of the Soufriere volcano.

In a condolence message sent to Premier Donaldson Romeo,  La Rocque lauded Osborne’s dedication to politics and the private sector, noting that his “heightened sense of social responsibility will long be remembered in his native land.

“He will be remembered for his integrity, honesty and trustworthiness which has been acknowledged by all regardless of political affiliation. The Community extends its condolences to his wife Lystra, his children and the entire Osborne family and the Government and people of Montserrat,” La Rocque added.

No details have been given regarding Osborne’s death and the state-owned ZJB Radio said that he had served in the Legislative Council for 14 years.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

Bertrand-Osborne - OECS

OECS Director General extends condolences on passing of former Chief Minister of Montserrat Bertrand Osborne

OECS Media release

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 — The OECS conveys sincere condolences to the Government and people of Montserrat on the passing of Bertrand Osborne, former Chief Minister.

Mr Bertrand Osborne served as Chief Minister of Montserrat from November 1996 to August 1997 during the volcanic crisis and was a member of the Montserrat Legislative Council for 14 years.He was also honoured with the National Order of Distinction award in 2014. 

“We have lost a leader, an oustanding man whose contribution to the development of Montserrat and by extension the OECS region is invaluable. We mourn this loss with the nation of Montserrat and extend our deepest sympathies to his family,” Director General of the OECS Commission Dr. Didacus Jules stated.

 
 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Local, News, Obituaries, OECS, Regional0 Comments

Calm as he will be remembered

Thanksgiving Service and Mass for Bertrand B. Osborne who died on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

by Bennette Roach

Calm as he will be remembered

The following information has been confirmed and presented for the benefit of those who cannot otherwise attend the services but have access to radio, television and of course the miniature viewing provided by their tablets and smart phones. More specifically, overseas viewers worldwide will have their access.

The GIU will be bringing you live video coverage of the Service of Thanksgiving for the late Bertrand Osborne, starting at 10:30 a.m. today at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. This stream will be avialble on our facebook page ‘Government Information Unit Montserrat’. Our coverage will also be shared on liveislandevents.com.  Radio Montserrat will also broadcast live audio of the Service.

Thanks to Digicel, this stream will also be carried live on local television, on channels 8 and 352.

The Mass of Thanksgiving at the Catholic Church starting at 2:30p.m. will be streamed by live islands events on both Facebook and websites. There will also be live video coverage of the military procession leading to the St. James Anglican Church where Mr. Osborne will be buried.

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

It's long been known that Apple cofounder Steve Jobs treated people cruelly, but his daughter's new autobiography offers new details.YouTube/AllThingsD

The shame of Steve Jobs, as told by his shunned daughter

Published by Q U A R T Z
 
THINK DIFFERENT
By Ephrat Livni  August 25, 2018
A portrait of Steve Jobs made of thousands of pieces of chewed gum, by artists Anna-Sofiya Matveeva.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs is the daughter of a postmodern god. Steve Jobs’ enduring influence after his 2011 death proves the legendary Apple innovator is an immortal of sorts. Now, the child he initially rejected is releasing a memoir that shows the man who may be the most admired technologist of all time was deeply flawed.

Small Fry, which comes out on Sept. 4 and was excerpted in Vanity Fair (paywall) this month, is intended to be an honest retrospective, its author says. Brennan-Jobs, who was not acknowledge by her father as his own for many years, frames his famous story in her own words, to heal and recapture, to get the last word, as she says in an Aug. 23 New York Times profile (paywall).

The book excerpt and the profile piece reveal a woman who appears deeply scarred by her father’s early rejection, though she urges understanding and forgiveness. It’s almost as if she’s being held hostage by the memory of the man, and identifying with her captor, like someone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. She asks the Times’ Nellie Bowles,“Have I failed in fully representing the dearness and the pleasure? The dearness of my father, and the outrageous pleasure of being with him when he was in good form?”

The answer to that question is, from what we’ve seen so far, is yes. What she has revealed—Jobs’ emotional callousness, his spiritual and financial stinginess with her—cast a dark shadow on his legendary status.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs marks a remarkable life

Brennan-Jobs has just turned 40, gotten married, and given birth to her own child. In a discussion of milestones with the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 13, she explains, “It was important that I examine parts of my life [in my memoir] that seemed shameful or embarrassing so I could try to understand them differently. Milestones are big enough that if you’re lucky you’re going to learn more about yourself. In this case the only way to get to something truthful was to write, to dig.”

And do she did. Brennan-Jobs reveals her complicated backstory. She was born in 1978 on a farm in Oregon. Her father, then 23, wasn’t there: “My father arrived a few days later,” she writes. “‘It’s not my kid,’ he kept telling everyone at the farm, but he’d flown there to meet me anyway. I had black hair and a big nose, and [his friend] said, “’She sure looks like you.’”

This was, of course, before Jobs was famous, and was just another young guy refusing to acknowledge paternity or pay child support. He was working on a personal computer that didn’t succeed—it was named the Lisa, like his daughter. But he would not admit a connection. When Brennan-Jobs was a teen, Apple was a successful public company, and her father had evolved into the role of icon, she held on to the idea that the Lisa tag was evidence of love. She writes:

By then the idea that he’d named the failed computer after me was woven in with my sense of self, even if he did not confirm it, and I used this story to bolster myself when, near him, I felt like nothing. I didn’t care about computers…but I liked the idea that I was connected to him in this way. It would mean I’d been chosen and had a place, despite the fact that he was aloof or absent. It meant I was fastened to the earth and its machines. He was famous; he drove a Porsche. If the Lisa was named after me, I was a part of all that.

Jobs finally did admit Lisa was named after the girl. Not because she asked. At a visit to the rock star Bono’s house, the U2 frontman inquired—with Brennan-Jobs, then 27, nearby—whether the computer was named for her. Jobs hesitantly admitted it was. “‘That’s the first time he’s said yes,’ I told Bono. ‘Thank you for asking,’” she writes. “As if famous people needed other famous people around to release their secrets.”

What was once hidden now holds hope

Brennan-Jobs is now famous herself and releasing her own secrets. Yet she seems profoundly wounded, trapped still, though she claims writing the memoir helped to free and heal her. She tells the Times that while penning the book, she covered mirrors around her work space with paper, admitting “I don’t like catching myself in the mirror because it’s like—‘Oh, self.’”

Similarly, she asks her profiler to describe her in her own words, offering a self-deprecating account of her face. “My face is uneven. I have small eyes. I wish I had dimples, but I don’t. I think right now I look jowly…My nose is not particularly delicate.”

Rather than being the memoirist recapturing her own tale, it seems as if her father’s voice is narrating her life story—one in which Brennan-Jobs is failing at being a successful family member, will inherit nothing from her father, and who stinks like a toilet. Those are just a few of the many cruel things Jobs said to her. (He did ultimately put her in his will.)

Perhaps it’s impossible to escape the shadow of a dark master like Jobs, who also happens to be your father and despite being widely acknowledge as a genius, is not a talented dad. Brennan-Jobs defends him anyway, saying he was was just unusually honest and that his toughness taught her valuable lessons.

For the rest of us, who don’t have to deal with Jobs’ legacy personally, the revelations only serve to take the icon—never admired for cuddliness—down another notch. What Small Fry and Brennan-Jobs show is something we already know and don’t like admitting. Our cultural heroes and accomplished geniuses are only just people, and often not particularly good ones.

See also: https://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-terrible-small-fry-daughter-book-2018-8

The memoir by Steve Jobs’ daughter makes clear he was a truly rotten person whose bad behavior was repeatedly enabled by those around him

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Features, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional, Technology0 Comments

636676055426018760-Aretha-Franklin--Atlantic-R.jpg

Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul’ who transformed American music, dies at 76

Reports say the music icon died from advanced pancreatic cancer in her Detroit home surrounded by family. Here’s a look at her iconic career that spans generations in music and American history. USA TODAY

LINKEDIN 8 COMMENTMORE

Aretha Franklin, whose impassioned, riveting voice made her a titan of American music, died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday, her niece Sabrina Owens confirmed. She was 76.

She died at 9:50 a.m. ET surrounded by family at her home in Detroit.

A family statement released by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, said “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Philip of Karmanos Cancer Institute” in Detroit.

The family added: “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.”

Franklin was one of the transcendent cultural figures of the 20th century. Raised on an eclectic musical diet of gospel, R&B, classical and jazz, she blossomed out of her father’s Detroit church to become the most distinguished female black artist of all time, breaking boundaries while placing nearly 100 hits on Billboard’s R&B chart – 20 of them reaching No. 1.

The Queen of Soul, as she was crowned in the 1960s, leaves a sprawling legacy of classic songs that includes “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Baby I Love You,” “Angel,” “Think,” “Rock Steady,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Freeway of Love,” along with a best-selling gospel catalog.

Reaction: John Legend, Barbra Streisand and other celebs grieve 

Remember: Aretha Franklin’s greatest pop culture moments

Lenny Kravitz:Aretha ‘meant so much to me’

Her death follows several years of painstakingly concealed medical issues, which led to regular show cancellations and extended absences from the public eye.

In March, Franklin canceled two concerts scheduled in New Jersey. According to a statement from her management team, she was following doctors’ orders to stay off the road and rest for two months, and she was “extremely disappointed she cannot perform as she had expected and hoped to.”

Franklin’s last performance was on Nov. 2, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York. The previous June, visibly feeble but still summoning magic, Franklin played her final hometown Detroit show, an emotion-packed concert for thousands at an outdoor festival downtown. 

She ended the performance with a then-cryptic appeal to her the crowd: “Please keep me in your prayers.”

The Queen of Soul sang for presidents and royalty, and befriended high-profile leaders such as the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson. Amid the global glitter and acclaim, she remained loyal to her adopted home, living in the Detroit area for decades, including the Bloomfield Hills house where she moved in the late ’80s.

“My roots are there. The church is there. My family is there,” she told the Detroit Free Press in 2011. “I like the camaraderie in Detroit, how we’ll rally behind something that’s really worthy and come to each other’s assistance.”

Franklin’s voice was a singular force, earning her a multitude of laurels through the decades, including 18 competitive Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and honorary doctorates from a host of institutions. In 1987, she became the first female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and seven years later, at age 52, the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.

Franklin topped Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list, and her signature hit, “Respect,” ranked No. 4 on “Songs of the Century,” a 1999 project by the National Endowment for the Arts. She performed at the inaugurations of U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, garnering global attention at the latter for her big fur hat with its crystal-studded bow – a piece now in the Smithsonian Institution.

Franklin’s influence is vast and indelible. It’s most obviously heard in the myriad voices that followed her, from Mary J. Blige to Adele, and even male singers such as Luther Vandross.

But just as important is Franklin’s broader social impact: She embodied American black culture, emphatically and without apology, and through sheer force of talent, thrust it onto the global stage.

Franklin revolutionized black music and the way it was absorbed and perceived, helping create a world where we take for granted that a Beyonce can reign atop mainstream popular culture.

Franklin was emotionally complex, a woman who relished her diva status but whose vulnerabilities and insecurities always seemed to lurk just beneath. Her public success masked a private life of turbulence and loss, making for an intriguing character driven by conflicting forces: Franklin was sassy but naturally shy, urbane but down-home, confident but reckless.

That deep, complicated humanity imbued her music with authenticity. Franklin’s singing, soaked in feeling and executed with virtuoso skill, moved seamlessly among styles: gospel, soul, pop, blues, R&B, jazz, even opera. She belted, purred, seduced, testified. Even as the propulsive power left her voice in later years, she remained as expressive as ever, and her live performances continued to earn critical acclaim.

“I must do what is real in me in all ways,” she told Ebony magazine in 1967, the year when a string of hit singles – “Respect,” “Baby I Love You,” “Chain of Fools” – gave Franklin her first major crossover success.

Aretha Franklin brought down the house at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. Her performance was as memorable for her hat as it was for her rendition of “My country ’tis of thee.” (Aug. 16) AP

Franklin’s early life

Born in Memphis on March 25, 1942, Franklin moved at age 4 to Detroit when her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, took over duties at New Bethel Baptist Church.

Turmoil set in early: Her mother left Detroit for Buffalo, New York, when Aretha was 6, and died four years later.

Still, Franklin grew up in an environment ideal for nurturing her skills. Her charismatic father was a preacher and singer with a national reputation, with sermons that became top-selling records and a gospel revue that toured the country. That brought important musical figures into the young singer’s orbit, including household guests such as James Cleveland, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King and Sam Cooke. Growing up on Detroit’s northwest side, she was a childhood friend of Smokey Robinson.

She became a singing prodigy at New Bethel, and her sisters, Carolyn and Erma, also honed their gospel skills. But it was Aretha who emerged as the standout, and by age 14 she was accompanying her father on his gospel travels.

 

Gospel was the main focus, but the Franklin household was teeming with all manner of music.

“I heard classical music from the beginning. It was always in our home,” Franklin told the Free Press in 2011. “As a teenager I took more to the R&B, but I always loved classical.”

R&B music, frowned upon by many in the traditional gospel world, was also welcome in the house. The Rev. Franklin, progressive in politics and disposition, put up little resistance to the secular sounds exemplified by artists such as Cooke.

The young Aretha absorbed the emotional power of music in its many forms, whether in the throes of an ecstatic congregation or the intimacy of close listening. 

“(My older sister) Erma was a big fan of ‘Be My Love’ by Mario Lanza,” she recalled. “How many times did we hear that in our house?! Sylvia Robinson, Smokey’s sister, used to visit Erma and play ‘Be My Love,’ pressing their ears against the speakers, just crying.

“I was quite young at the time, and I thought it was very funny that these girls were crying with their ears against the speaker. I didn’t do that with the artists I heard (then) – Frankie Lymon, the Clovers, LaVern Baker, Ray Charles. As an adult I began to perfectly understand it. When I heard someone knocking me out, I thought, ‘OK, so this is what that was about.’ ”

In 1960, at age 18, Franklin spurned a hometown offer from Berry Gordy’s fledgling Motown label and opted to sign with New York’s Columbia Records, where her demo tape had caught the ear of iconic talent scout John Hammond. A year later – shortly after Franklin married her manager, Ted White – her Columbia debut was released.

That record set the tone for her five-year, nine-album tenure at Columbia, where she was groomed as an interpreter of jazz and pop standards, presented as a chanteuse at the piano.

Franklin was quietly masterful at the keyboard. Throughout her career, it was a skill overshadowed by her voice – although she played piano on most of the work for which she’s now remembered.

The Columbia period proved fruitful but frustrating for the young singer, helping expand her talent while sticking a bridle on the gospel-honed voice behind it. Even as her critical reputation and live draw grew, she managed only a handful of minor hits.

“It’s a fast track to the top if you’ve really got it going on. But I like the way I came up in the industry,” she told the Free Press in 2014. “It wasn’t too fast. It wasn’t overnight, but (rather) little by little. And gradually I grew in the industry. I like that more than the overnight sensation, as one might put it. I was able to learn along the way and grow at a very, very nice pace. My pace, really. I wasn’t thrust into anything I wasn’t ready for.”

Real success blossomed in 1967, when the 24-year-old Franklin declined to renew her Columbia contract and signed with Atlantic Records, where executives Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler saw a chance to unleash the raw power of Franklin’s vocals. Her first Atlantic single – “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” – was cut at the burgeoning soul-music hotbed FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Within weeks it was Franklin’s first No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B chart, cracking the pop Top 10 as well. She was on her way to mainstream success.

As with so much of her coming work, the performance on “I Never Loved a Man” was fueled by a deep intensity but with an intimate, welcoming feel that helped Franklin connect with listeners across the board.

“She has never learned how to be pretentious enough to build a false image, and deeply identifies with people on all levels,” Ebony wrote that year, going on to quote Franklin:

“Everybody who’s living has problems and desires just as I do,” she told the magazine. “When the fellow on the corner has somethin’ botherin’ him, he feels the same way I do. When we cry, we all gonna cry tears, and when we laugh, we all have to smile.”

‘Respect’ and the ascension to fame

Franklin’s career quickly skyrocketed: With Wexler overseeing sessions and many of the Muscle Shoals players recruited to Atlantic’s New York studio, Franklin recorded a flurry of hits in the ensuing months, all of them enduring for decades as staples of her repertoire: “Respect,” “Baby I Love You,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools, “Ain’t No Way.” She was backed on many by sisters Carolyn and Erma, who enjoyed modest solo success of their own.

Franklin was no one’s puppet in the studio: Even in her earliest years, she was assertive during record sessions, crafting arrangements and dictating commands to seasoned musicians many decades her senior.

By ’68, Franklin was an iconic figure in the African-American community – “the Queen of Soul,” as she was christened by the black press. She was now inescapably important: Franklin’s status was seconded by mainstream America that summer when she graced the cover of Time magazine.

While Franklin was not often explicitly political in public, she embraced her anointed role just as the black-pride movement was flowering. “Respect,” in particular, took on anthem-like stature, hailed as a bold feminist and civil-rights statement – though Franklin long insisted she had no grand designs when she recorded the Otis Redding tune about household relationships.

On Feb. 16, 1968 – declared “Aretha Franklin Day” by Detroit Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh – she performed a celebratory hometown show for 12,000. In attendance was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., two months before his assassination, and he took the stage to present Franklin with an award on behalf of his Southern Christian Leadership Council.

As would become typical of Franklin’s story, the outward success masked drama behind the scenes. The marriage to White, in particular, had become fraught, marked by domestic violence. By 1969, they were divorced. She would go on to wed actor Glynn Turman in 1978, a marriage that lasted six years.

The hits continued to pile up. By the end of the 1960s she had placed 28 songs in the R&B Top 40, a mix of original material and eclectic cover songs, including work by the Beatles (“Eleanor Rigby”) and the Band (“The Weight”). The momentum carried into the following decade, with a string of hit records and a 1972 gospel album, “Amazing Grace,” that became one of the genre’s all-time best sellers.

Success on the R&B side continued in the ’70s even as the pop hits tapered off, though 1976’s “Sparkle” soundtrack produced one of Franklin’s abiding crossover classics, the Curtis Mayfield-penned “Something He Can Feel.” A scene-stealing appearance in the 1980 comedy “The Blues Brothers,” where Franklin performed as a waitress belting out “Think,” was a colorful introduction for a younger generation.

 

That same year, searching for a new musical direction, Franklin signed with Arista Records, where mogul Clive Davis helped groom a fresh career path for the singer, now approaching 40.

After several tries, the 1985 album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” became the mainstream smash they sought, producing the hit “Freeway of Love” and placing Franklin in front of the MTV audience. A duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” topped the global charts two years later.

Franklin, who had spent much of the 1970s in Los Angeles, was now permanently resettled in metro Detroit, with several area properties including the Bloomfield Hills residence that would remain her primary home for the next three decades. Her father had died in 1984 after a five-year coma; he’d been shot during an attempted robbery at his Detroit home.

The 1990s saw Franklin growing into the role of elder soul stateswoman, satisfied with her status as one of pop history’s greats and playing up the diva role that had become an integral facet of her persona. While the studio pace slowed – she released just five albums from 1998 through her death – her latter-day music was generally well received, with Grammy nominations for “A Rose Is Still a Rose” (1998) and “So Damn Happy” (2003).

“I’m comfortable in my own skin, and my six-inch heels,” she told the Free Press in 2011.

Though Franklin still performed regularly in the ’90s and ’00s, her touring work was hampered by her fear of flying, which set in after a frightening small-plane trip in the early ’80s. She insisted on bus travel, trekking across the U.S. to play for adoring crowds at theaters and summer amphitheaters.

“I’ve definitely evolved to a greater maturity onstage, a savoir faire, I think,” she told the Free Press. “It’s just about relaxing more, really, and having fun with it. That comes with time, to evolve to that level and find that it’s really very simple … that it’s really about having fun and communicating with your audience.”

Franklin was long dogged by weight issues and struggled with alcohol abuse in the late 1960s. But the first glaring sign of health problems came in 2010, when she canceled six months of concert commitments while hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.

She re-emerged the next summer visibly slimmer and seemingly healthy, returning with a glowing show at the Chicago Theatre: “Six months after the world was braced for the worst, Aretha Franklin gave it her best,” as the Free Press reported at the time.

“Her voice was velvety and potent as she rolled into her set, still finding new curves and corners in the notes of songs such as ‘Think,’ ‘Sparkle’ and ‘Baby I Love You,’ ” read the review.

Nevertheless, Franklin’s concert activity became hit-and-miss during her final years, and show cancellations became par for the course, often chalked up to unnamed health problems. She increasingly spoke of winding things down, performing fewer shows by the year, and in February 2017 finally raised the prospect of retirement, saying she was recording a final album.

Two missions loomed large during the final decade of Franklin’s life, and both were still in the works when she died: She was in ongoing talks to produce a film about her life, frequently talking up potential lead actresses such as Jennifer Hudson, Halle Berry and Audra McDonald. And she was enchanted by the idea of opening a soul-food restaurant in downtown Detroit.

Reclusive by nature, Franklin liked being at home and enjoying “the small things,” as she said in 2011 – polishing the silver, buying a tea set, washing and ironing. She was a reader drawn to biographies and an avid media consumer who looked forward to her daily newspapers.

“I enjoy the comfort of home very much,” she said. “I’m very domestic when I’m at home. I can stay in the house for the longest kind of time and not get out.”

From Obama to Pavarotti, always grand

It was always BIG with Aretha Franklin. The public situations skewed to the larger-than-life, the supersize, the majestic. She was an immense presence, physically and psychologically, and could take over rooms simply by sweeping into them.

She had a knack for finding herself at the center of grand moments, whether stealing the show at the Obama inaugural or filling in for the ailing Luciano Pavarotti with an impromptu “Nessun Dorma” at the 1998 Grammys.

 

“She could get a U.S. president on the phone with two calls,” said Brian Pastoria, who co-engineered some of Franklin’s studio work.

Indeed, it was the little stuff that seemed to vex Franklin most. She struggled with personal finances, and was frequently forced into small-claims court by mom-and-pop operations around metro Detroit – limo services, caterers, contractors. Her home was often cluttered and unkempt, and while experts on creative genius might say that comes with the territory, it was enough to frustrate neighbors and leave visitors puzzled why she had so little help around her.

For years Franklin talked about plans to tackle her flying phobia, but never followed through. It kept her grounded for the final 35 years of her life, plausibly costing her millions in touring revenue.

Franklin was scrupulously private; her personal life was shielded by a tight cadre of family members and friends. When writer Mark Bego set out to pen the first authorized Aretha Franklin biography, 1989’s “The Queen of Soul,” he was struck by the array of unknowns that still surrounded her – basic details about her two marriages and divorces, her upbringing, even her musical inspirations.

“I felt as if I had just encountered one of the great unsolved mysteries of the show-business world,” he wrote.

Franklin cautiously traipsed into some of those topics with her 1999 autobiography, “Aretha: From These Roots.” But she remained elusive enough that her handpicked co-author, David Ritz, was compelled to write his own uninhibited Franklin biography 15 years later.

That book provoked the singer’s wrath – the sort of eruption familiar to those in Aretha’s world. Franklin continually churned through support staff, hiring and firing lawyers, publicists and producers. She feuded with other female singers and knew how to hold a grudge, including a beef with Dionne Warwick that became public only when Franklin alerted the press out of the blue – five years after it happened.

But when it came to the music, few were more disciplined than Franklin. She was serious about her voice and exacting about her concert conditions: big on honey and hot tea before a show and insistent on rooms without air conditioning, aware it could dry out her throat.

Many who worked closely with her also glimpsed the humanity at the heart of the superstar singer who came up in the church.

“She (was) very compassionate,” the late Darryl Houston said in 2010. Houston was Franklin’s accompanying pianist for more than two decades. “When I was dealing with the sickness and eventual death of my father in Mississippi, she was very encouraging in thought and deed. I remember a few times I would get a call from a travel agent saying: ‘When do you want to go see your dad? Ms. Franklin has taken care of the ticket.’ ” 

Brian Pastoria was part of a studio team that worked with Franklin in the 1990s and 2000s, including recording sessions at her home.

“Before the vocal sessions, she’d be in the kitchen making chili. After recording a couple of hours, she’d say, ‘OK, time to eat!’ ” Pastoria recalled. “Even though she was the greatest of all time, the Muhammad Ali of vocals, it was still always her calling on the phone for business, not her lawyer. You’d hear, ‘Hi, honey, how are you!’ It was nice. It was real. You never felt like you were dealing with a major superstar.”

For all the public gowns, glitz and diva references – she was famously portrayed in a Snickers commercial as a crabby prima donna – Franklin was a homegirl at heart. She was a connoisseur of old-school Southern soul food, proud of her knack with homemade dishes like fried chicken and ham with black-eyed peas.

“I think I rank with the best when it comes to the stove,” she told the Free Press in 1996.

That sort of organic realness coursed through her work.

“She paints a picture with a song,” said Houston. “Outside of being vocally astute, you can feel what she’s singing. You can tell when someone is just singing a song, and when the song is a part of their inner being. With Aretha, what leaves the heart reaches the heart.”

 

“It seems she never, ever forgot those roots of the church, and she really believed that we need to look above the things of this world, to a more spiritual level,” said social activist Rocky Twyman. “You felt like she wanted to bless humanity with her music.”

Franklin made her final hometown appearance in Detroit on June 10, 2017, headlining the Detroit Music Weekend festival for thousands gathered in the streets. Down the block two days earlier, tears had streamed down her face as she was honored by the city with the unveiling of Aretha Franklin Way.

For nearly two hours on the festival stage that weekend, she performed a spirited, feisty set while clearly struggling through pain, at one point singing from a plush chair.

Franklin did it her way that night, foregoing many of her biggest hits for a deeper dive into her catalog and a stirring, 11-minute gospel workout of “Precious Memories.”

The old, soaring power may have been missing, but the passion was intact. For one last time in front of her hometown community, there was Aretha Franklin, and there was that voice. 

That voice – still captivating, but now comforting in its decades-long familiarity. A sound still melding urban vitality with the warmth of Southern soul. Still joy, pain, ecstasy, liberation. Still strength and femininity. And still offering, as it always will, the promise of transcendence.

Posted in Entertainment, Featured, International, Local, News, Obituaries0 Comments

Clinton tweet

Pre-mourning” Aretha Franklin

By Brian Stelter and CNN’s media team

Some memories, thoughts and observations0 just prior to her death announcement

The digital age allows us to witness “pre-mourning” on a worldwide scale.

And that’s what we’re witnessing right now around the news that Aretha Franklin‘s health is failing. People are celebrating her life and bracing for her possible death –

– and much of this is playing out in public.

Credit where it’s due: On Tuesday I heard CNN.com EIC Meredith Artley use the term “pre-mourning” to describe the outpouring of love and concern. That’s exactly what it is. Just take a look at a news website, TV newscast, Facebook, or

Twitter. There’s already a tribute concert being planned for the fall.

“It’s very logical on a journalistic and a human level — she is a global icon,” Artley said via email Tuesday night. “A black woman who sings about respect, about being a woman, a moving voice and central figure of civil rights…” Artley said the interest in her life and health and legacy may speak to “a need for some soul and grace in turbulent times.” Very true…

Friends and fans rallying around the star

Psychologists sometimes call it “anticipatory grief.” A friend commented to me that every time she sees Aretha’s name now, “I check to see if she has died.”

Think back to June, when there was a digital embrace of Charles Krauthammer in the weeks before he passed away. The same was true when Barbara Bush was in failing health back in April. And I hate talking this way, but I think we’ve seen some “pre-mourning” of John McCain, given his brain cancer diagnosis.

As for Franklin, Lisa Respers France wrote about the friends and fans rallyingaround the star… Here’s her full story…

Franklin is hearing the tributes

Some deaths come as a shock — Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, Prince. There was no “pre-mourning” them. Two recent examples were Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. But Franklin has apparently been able to hear from some of the people who are concerned about her.

On Tuesday a source close to Franklin told CNN’s Don Lemon that the 76-year- old singer “is being visited by people close to her who are reading her messages from friends and loved ones, holding her hand…”

A reminder: Exercise caution…

A warning via the NYT’s Ben Sisario:

“The lack of detail about Ms. Franklin’s condition led to some premature comments on social media that she had died. On Tuesday, Tim Franklin, a nephew, was

quoted in a report by People magazine saying that Ms. Franklin was ‘alert,

laughing, teasing, able to recognize people.’ That comment was rebutted by the

rest of the Franklin family… ” A family rep said “that Ms. Franklin had met with her nephew in a ‘very brief visit two weeks ago.’ But by then the People report had been picked up by numerous other media outlets.

My final thought on this: Are some sketchy websites seizing on concern about Franklin to grab some cheap page views? For sure. That’s the web at its worst. But at its best, the content connects people and helps them feel a little less alone while pre-mourning the loss of a giant…

 

 

 

 

Posted in Entertainment, International, News, Obituaries0 Comments

Guyana President declares national day of mourning

Guyana President declares national day of mourning

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun. 24, CMC –  President David Granger has proclaimed Monday as a national day of mourning for the victims of the massacre of Guyanese fishermen off the Coast of Suriname between April 27 and May 3.

The proclamation which is in keeping with Article 99 (1) of the constitution of Guyana, calls on “all authorities, Boards, Commissions, Corporations, Public Agencies, Ministries and citizens to fly the National Flag of Guyana at half-staff to demonstrate solidarity with the families of those killed in these grisly and gruesome acts and to accord due homage, respect and reverence to the memory of the victims.”

The piracy attack which took place on April 27, left 16 fishermen missing and feared dead.

According to survivors, they were assaulted with machetes and forced to jump into the sea by the assailants who are suspected to be of Guyanese heritage.

Some of the survivors also recounted that several victims had batteries tied to their legs.

Granger, speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony for Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) workshop for judges and prosecutors had described the attack, as a grave one.

“We are deeply grieved by the tragedy. Clearly, some Guyanese have been victims and we are in touch with the Surinamese government, also the Surinamese police authorities. Our police in the East Berbice, Corentyne division are in touch with their families and we plan to observe formal mourning. It is a great massacre, a great tragedy,” the president said.

In addition, The Head of State had extended sympathy to the bereaved families and said the recent attack is a setback to successes achieved in the fight against piracy over the past three years.

Following the attack, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and a team of security personnel visited the neighbouring country and met with relatives of the deceased. The Minister said the visit was timely and yielded important information.

“The very first morning of our arrival I met with about 25 relatives of the victims and we had a meeting at the Guyana Embassy in Paramaribo, myself along with Ambassador George. A number of issues were raised and the ways in which we could assist were also discussed.” Minister Ramjattan added, “we then had a meeting on Monday morning with the Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence, Minister of Agriculture, the Police Commissioner and the chief detective who was the person in charge of the investigations. From that meeting, we received a better understanding as to how far the investigations had gone,” Ramjattan explained.

According to The Minister of Public Security a formal request was made to the Surinamese government, to have an estimated seven persons who may have information on the recent piracy attacks on Guyanese fishermen, provide same to the local police.

“Recently, a team of Surinamese detectives working on the case indicated that they are going to help us in relation to getting more evidence because we had asked them for more evidence in relation to people who we suspected in Guyana,” the Minister said during a media briefing.

In the aftermath of the attack,  the government declared moves to heighten counter-piracy efforts.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that government will be intensifying its counter-piracy activities in Guyana and has assured local fisherfolk of the government’s commitment to ensuring that they continue to ply their trade and earn their livelihood in an environment of safety and security.

The Surinamese authorities have also agreed to the implementation of a number of regulatory measures aimed at ensuring the safety of fisher folks and their vessels.

Nakool Manohar called “Fyah”, 39, the alleged mastermind of the massacre of Guyanese fishermen in Suriname, was on charged on May 30, with the murder of one of the men.

Manohar appeared at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court b  to answer to charges of piracy on the high seas however, he was instead slapped with the murder charge.

The charge stated that between April 26th and May 3rd, while in Guyana’s territorial waters, he murdered Tilacknauth Mohabir called ‘Caiman’.

Another man  – Premnauth Persaud, also known as ‘Sinbad,’ who is said to be the ringleader of the April 27 piracy attack off of Suriname, was jointly charged  with the murder of two fishermen.

Persaud, 43, the third accused, was jointly charged with Nakool Manohar, also known as “Fyah”, 39, with the murders of Tilaknauth Mohabir, also known as “Kai” or “Kaiman,” and Mahesh Sarjoo. The charge read that the two men, between April 27 and May 3, murdered Mohabir and Sarjoo during the course of a robbery in Corentyne waters.

The second accused Alexander DenHart, called “Shame Face”, earlier this month and was not required to answer to the charge.

The bodies of Tilacknauth Mohabir and Mahesh Sarjoo were the only two that were positively identified by relatives in Suriname after the   attack .

One other body that was found in Surinamese waters is still to be identified via DNA testing while the body of Gowkaran Outar called Gavin was found on a beach and was positively identified by a tattoo on his chest by relatives.

Five persons survived the ordeal while 11 are still missing and feared dead.

Posted in Crime, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Police, Regional0 Comments

About 12.30 p.m. - June 25, 1997

How do we remember those who died on June 25, 1997?

by Bennette Roach

About 12.30 p.m. – June 25, 1997

This morning I asked a few peolple, who immediately but only then recalled the significance of my question: Who remembered where they were at about 12.30 p.m. on June 25, 1997. The stories came out, from very clear memories. What about you.

Last year on Sunday, June 25, 2017, Montserrat held a 20thYear Remembrance ceremony of the 19 persons who died during the tragic event of volcanic activity on June 25, 1997. A plaque displaying the names of the victims. A plaque was unveiled at the main service at the Cultural Centre and installed at the National Museum immediately after.

There were two memorial services held last week: one on Sunday afternoon and another on Tuesday afternoon, the day which was set aside as a national day of mourning.

Offices were officially asked to close at two o’clock on Tuesday, in honour of those persons who lost their lives or are still missing, though believed to be dead, in the tragic pyroclastic flows of Wednesday, June 25, 1997. The flows descended on villages from Streatham, Windy Hill, Harris, Farms Bethel, Spanish Pointe through Trants on the northeast and eastern end of the island, completely destroying some of them.

Both services were well attended by government dignitaries and officials, as well as family members of the dead and missing and the public in general.

Plans are being put in place to establish a fund for families of the victims of last week’s pyroclastic flow. This was put in motion with the offering that was taken up at the services.

Related: Memorial Services and Fundwww.montserratreporter.org – July 16, 1997

I previously wrote the following, information over which the discussions still continue as people are reminded.

“So people died, and later even to this day there are the reasons why it happened. But while HMG did not quite accept the verdict following the Inquiry which was presided over by Magistrate Rhys Burris, local government is yet to pursue some form of compensation for the survivors of these people. The deceased were where they were that day for varying reasons.

“Following the Inquest hearing: While the jurors found all 19 deaths were “caused by the natural catastrophe,” they pointed the finger of responsibility at both Her Majesty’s Government and the Government of Montserrat in at least some of them (the deaths).

“In London, the Foreign Office promptly disclaimed any responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government in the deaths. In a statement reported by the BBC, it said, “On May 23, the farmers were told to stop farming in the area nearest the volcano. It is inconceivable that they were not aware of the dangers.”

Today, let us remember these people. “Their deaths brought urgent attention which again to this day as we recall 20 years since the crisis began, the question must be how strong the indication of the casual way the Montserrat recovery has progressed, or retrogressed.

  • Alwin Allen, 44, a livestock farmer, died in Farms.
  • Winston Allen, 41, chauffeur and livestock farmer, died in Farms.
  • Benjamin / Joseph Brown, 71, a farmer, died in the central area of Montserrat.
  • Felina Celestine, 45, a farmer, died in Farrells.
  • Melville Cuffy, 39, a farm worker, died in Farrells.
  • Beryl Grant, 73, farmer and huckster, died in Harris.
  • Edith Greenaway, 69, resident, died at her home in Streathams.
  • Joseph Greenaway, 62, resident, died at his home in Windy Hill.
  • Mary Bernardine Harris, 44, resident, died at her home in Farms.
  • Alicia Joseph, 23, resident, died at her home in Farms.
  • Allister Joseph, 3-months, died with his mother in Farms.
  • Isolyn Lewis, 43, a farmer, died in Farrells.
  • Chana Rueben Boatswaine/Horrance Murraine, 66, airport worker, died in Farms.
  • Keithley Ponde, 32, a farmer, died in Farrells.
  • Hezekiah Riley, age unknown, described as mentally unstable, died at his home in Streathams.
  • Phillip Robinson, 66, a farmer, died in Streathams.
  • Anthony Sutton, 72, resident, died at his home in Farms.
  • Virginia Sutton, 70, resident, died at her home in Farms.
  • Joseph / Simon Tuitt / White, 45, airport worker, died in Farms.

“Above are the names of those who perished in that tragic and fateful volcanic extra-ordinary event of June 25, 1997. Theirs were lives lost that need not to have happened when and how they did. As we remember them and the day, we need also to remember the many others who have since died slowly, while not directly from an event, but from other events over the entire crisis. There are others who suffered and others who continue to suffer and some who have indeed died, only because circumstances were slow in being corrected or attended to at all.

“This was said almost 17 years ago. “Others may die slower deaths, but it is up to us who must do something about it, if it is only by breaking a silence and deliberating and strategizing ways to deal with these problems.”

“This remains valid today.”

 

Posted in Climate/Weather, Featured, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

Billy Graham, seen in 2010, has died at the age of 99. (CHRIS KEANE / Reuters)

Billy Graham, ‘America’s Pastor’ And Noted Evangelist, Dead At 99

Jade Walker

HuffPost
 
 Billy Graham, the famed evangelist who became known as “America’s Pastor,” has died at the age of 99, The Associated Press reported.

Graham died at his home Wednesday morning from natural causes, a family spokesman told  ABC News.

Born in 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina, William Franklin Graham Jr. was the oldest of the four children of William and Morrow Graham. He was raised on a dairy farm, and little in his childhood suggested he would become a world-renowned preacher.

Then at 16, Graham attended a series of revival meetings run by outspoken evangelist Mordecai Ham. The two months he spent listening to Ham’s sermons on sin sparked a spiritual awakening in Graham and prompted him to enroll at Bob Jones College. When the conservative Christian school’s strict doctrine didn’t align with his personal beliefs, he transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida) and joined a Southern Baptist Convention church. He was ordained in 1939.

Billy Graham, seen in 2010, has died at the age of 99. (CHRIS KEANE / Reuters)
 
Billy Graham, seen in 2010, has died at the age of 99. (CHRIS KEANE / Reuters)

Graham received additional training at Illinois’ Wheaton College, where he met his future wife, Ruth McCue Bell. They were married for 64 years, until her death in 2007, and had five children.

After serving briefly as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, Graham launched his first radio program, “Songs in the Night,” in 1943. Although he left a year later, Graham liked the idea of sharing his message with a wide audience. As noted on his website, Graham took Jesus Christ literally when he said in Mark 16:15: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

Graham was still in his early 30s when entered the public spotlight by giving a series of well-attended “sin-smashing” revival meetings that were held under a circus tent in a Los Angeles parking lot. The press took interest in the charismatic young preacher and began writing articles about him. To get his message to even more people, Graham founded his own ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Graham mat his wife, Ruth McCue Bell, at Illinois’ Wheaton College. They were married for 64 years and had five children. (Bettmann via Getty Images)
 
Graham mat his wife, Ruth McCue Bell, at Illinois’ Wheaton College. They were married for 64 years and had five children. (Bettmann via Getty Images)

Graham viewed the Bible as the infallible word of God. He believed that Jesus led a sinless life and that all men were lost and would face God’s judgment.

Such a strict interpretation of scripture also led him to condemn homosexual relationships.

 

More recently, detractors blasted Graham’s continued belief that homosexual behavior was a “sinister form of perversion,” and his intolerance against the very presence of gay and lesbian couples within Christianity.

“From Genesis on, the Bible praises the marriage of a man and a woman, but it speaks only negatively of homosexual behavior whenever it is mentioned,” Graham’s website states.

Graham’s sermons also promoted evangelism and railed against “godless communism,” drugs, sex and violence. He was convinced he must use “every modern means of communication available” to spread the Gospel throughout the world, and did so in print, on radio and television, online and in person.

And for the next five decades, his electric personality connected with audiences in more than 185 countries.

Graham was the first evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain, and during the Apartheid era he refused to visit South Africa until the government allowed integrated seating at his events. He published dozens of best-selling books, including Angels: God’s Secret Agents and The Jesus Generation, and wrote a weekly column that was syndicated in hundreds of newspapers.

After serving briefly as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, Graham launched his first radio program in 1943. (Toronto Star Archives via Getty Images)
 
After serving briefly as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, Graham launched his first radio program in 1943. (Toronto Star Archives via Getty Images)

Graham received numerous honors, including the Horatio Alger Award, the George Washington Honor Medal, the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award and the Congressional Gold Medal. A highway in Charlotte bears his name, as does part of Interstate 240 near his home in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1989, he became the first clergyman to be granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as a minister.

Graham also had a major effect on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. His early crusades were segregated, but once the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, which found public school segregation unconstitutional, Graham integrated the seatings at his revival meetings.

Graham befriended the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as well, and together they preached to more than 2 million people in New York City.

King once remarked on their partnership: “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”

When Graham was questioned about his views on faith and race, he argued there was no scriptural basis for segregation.

“Jesus was not a white man; He was not a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa and Asia and Europe,” Graham once preached. “Christianity is not a white man’s religion, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black. Christ belongs to all people; He belongs to the whole world.”

Graham became the first clergyman to be granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as a minister. He's seen attending that ceremony in 1989 in Hollywood, California. (Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images)
 
Graham became the first clergyman to be granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work as a minister. He’s seen attending that ceremony in 1989 in Hollywood, California. (Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images)

As his message spread, Graham was granted personal audiences with royalty, dignitaries and many sitting presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. Three presidents were even on hand in 2007 for the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Despite being a registered Democrat, Graham opposed the candidacy of John F. Kennedy, and actively encouraged other religious leaders to speak out about the dangers of having a Roman Catholic in the White House.

Though beloved by millions, Graham was not without his detractors. Some fundamentalist Christians took issue with his ecumenical approach to evangelism, and after his 1957 crusade in New York, opponents of Graham’s more liberal theology began calling him “the Antichrist.” According to the biography Billy: A Personal Look at Bill Graham, the World’s Best-Loved Evangelist by Sherwood Eliot Wirt, one Christian educator even said that Graham was “the worst thing to happen to the Christian church in two thousand years.”

As his health began to fail, Graham decided to announce his retirement in 2005. His final sermon, “The Cross ― Billy Graham’s Message To America,” called for a national spiritual awakening.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Posted in International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

Newsletter

Archives