It’s me again, Afrobella!

I love you. Hopefully you know this by now. Your music has been the soundtrack to my life and your voice has lifted me in my darkest hours. Having said that, I’d love to remind you of the offer I made in my last open letter to you. We need to make this shopping trip happen.

Aunty Aretha (do you mind if I call you aunty? Where I come from it’s a mark of respect and love. And I feel like I know you!) — please let me go shopping with you. I know you’re a beautiful woman but outfits like this right here… so not the biz.


I know, I know — snoods are in right now! I just blogged about wanting a snood this week! But the fur snood with the open coat, over your trademark sparkly dress with spaghetti straps holding on for dear life — put all together, it just doesn’t make sense.

As an animal lover, I can’t condone the fur. Besides being cruel, it can make a big girl look bulky. I’m thinking you realized that, hence leaving the coat open? Just trying to figure it out here. Because it makes no sense. I’m not gonna say you look like a Jim Henson monster (I’ll leave that to my friend Thembi), or a ghetto Eskimo (I’ll leave that to Thicksational)…but I’ll just say this — we both know you can look amazing and that didn’t happen on this particular evening.

I know you’ve clearly got your own fashion sense and I love that about you. Clearly nobody is behind the scenes telling you what to wear. But maybe 2010 would be a good time to leave the newsworthy headgear and in-your-face cleavage behind. I’m not saying any of this to be mean, I just sincerely believe that this is the time to step your fashion game up. As a plus size bella myself, I can identify with your struggle.

Look at your friend Chaka Khan — she’s working with UK plus size line Evans! And setting a gold standard in how you can work plus size fashion at any age. You can do it, Aunty Aretha! I believe in you!

Call me! Let’s get it together!




Lee says:
December 3, 2009, 1:49 pm
This is so true. Aretha almost seems to go out of her way to find outfits that do NOT flatter her. The spaghetti straps, bosoms out, a barrage of sleeveless numbers (which she does not need) have become her trademark. She soooo needs a stylist. As far as Chaka, she just started looking good again. She was wearing some crazy fits too. But it looks like she is getting it together.
Leslie says:
December 3, 2009, 2:04 pm
I agree 100% Every trend is not right for EVERY woman no matter the size. However, with a little research, every bella can be fierce!!!! Maybe she should call Queen Latifah's stylist....
Goody says:
December 3, 2009, 2:17 pm
LORT! i love me some Re Re...i mean no one has that! but her fashion pains me.. literally causes physical responses within my body.. come on that!
M says:
December 3, 2009, 2:33 pm
Bella you're killing it! Clearly she does not have a wardrobe staff, family or friends b/c outfits like this would not happen. This letter was too funny but so appropriate.
_Susan says:
December 3, 2009, 2:38 pm
I agree. I love ReRe, and give her a pass but I'd love for her to dress better. She does look like shes losing weight, tho.
helouise says:
December 3, 2009, 2:49 pm
You made me laugh at this post, yes I am always asking myself who picks her outfits?? I am follower now:)
Phyrra says:
December 3, 2009, 3:02 pm
I'm always kind of bothered when I see fur specifically on celebrities. Unless it's fake fur, I really don't like it >.<
KindredSmile says:
December 3, 2009, 4:31 pm
Given the material you had to work with (that pic) I have to say that this post is the most tasteful, well-written, NICE piece of advice Aretha could ever receive. With that said, I've been alternating between cackling and shaking my head for the past 10 minutes. Maybe if they didn't catch her in mid-holler, it wouldn't have been so bad, but I'm seriously contemplating making this my screensaver.
ChocolateOrchid says:
December 3, 2009, 4:38 pm
Bella, I don't think I could've put it as lovingly as you did. This was great! Very sweet. And I couldn't agree with you more. I'd love to see her on TLC's What Not To Wear. I've seen them do some awesome things.
b. says:
December 3, 2009, 4:58 pm
I'm in awe at that picture and glad you were nice about it. Other than the Inauguration, I can't remember a recent event where Ms. Franklin appeared as regal as she once did. As for the need for a bra (mentioned in your last letter to the Queen)...I wonder if one large enough to support her would hinder her singing? She would certainly look better (IMO) with a higher neckline, but I wonder realistically whether her voice would be hindered by a traditional bra.
Denise says:
December 3, 2009, 5:00 pm
Amen, Afrobella, Amen! I loves me some Aunt Re-Re, too, but goodness be, her clothes leave so much to be desired. She is a diva, in the true sense of the word, so I think it's time she started dressing more tastefully....Her usual 'fits are anything but well-suited for her body.
BlackBetty says:
December 3, 2009, 5:25 pm
I was not as upset with Re-Re's outfit (we go way back) as I was about her lip syncing during her performances. Yes she was! At first I said, wow she sounds great and looks like she lost a few pounds then I realized that her voice didn't match up with her mouth and it all went pear shaped from there.
Lynette says:
December 3, 2009, 6:28 pm
I think Aretha has a distorted view of what she actually looks like. She looks in the mirror and sees a younger, thinner version of herself. Unfortunately, I don't think things will change for Ms Franklin.
E-Fresh says:
December 3, 2009, 11:02 pm
LOL at ghetto eskimo. I'm not gonna hate on Aretha's style though. That's how she chooses to express herself : )
lexibugg says:
December 4, 2009, 6:42 am
okay, so being from anchorage, alaska i know a few "ghetto" (i hate how liberally used that word is)Eskimos and non of those sistas would be caught dead in that get up!!! and as far as the fur goes, again being from alaska and a strong supporter of subsistence living my views on fur are a bit different!!!
J.Adia says:
December 4, 2009, 8:31 am
Whe I first saw this picture, I first thought she looked like a bear without ears. I've come to the conlusion that Aretha, just doesn't care. She's going to dress the way she wants to dress because she can. It's like older people who say whatever they want, no matter how inappropriate, because they're old and feel they've deserved the right. You can't save anyone who doesn't want to be saved!
don says:
December 4, 2009, 10:48 am
hahahaha @ We need to make this shopping trip happen. I admit, that hat just doen't look right on her.
E-Fresh says:
December 4, 2009, 11:08 am
Upon closer inspection, Aretha's head looks exactly like your logo!!
nolagirl says:
December 4, 2009, 1:01 pm
1. I lurve me some Aretha Franklin! 2. She makes me smile. 3. Who ever gets her to change her outfits up will be the celebrity stylist on top forever, but I think many a stylist has offered for free to bring her up a level fashion wise and she is not interested. 4. Great letter, I bet she would be fun to shop with, but I think she would steer you so wrong in the " yes get that" department....
Jenene says:
December 4, 2009, 1:10 pm
I'll tell you a funny story about Aretha. My aunt went to her concert. There wasn't supposed to be intermission. Imagine her surprise when the house lights go on, Aretha calls for someone to bring her chair and a cup of hot tea. This woman sat in front of an audience for 15 minutes calmly sipping tea. Most of the audience watched her like an animal at the zoo because they didn't know if they 'd miss something by running to the bathroom. I no longer criticize her style choices because it is abundantly clear that she doesn't give a fig newton. I have come to accept the fact that Ms. Franklin is a diva and divas have different rules. Deal with it!
Shell says:
December 6, 2009, 12:28 am
One day, I'm hoping Aretha will wake up and dress to fit her body as she is now.
Olivia says:
December 6, 2009, 11:03 am
Oh Ms. Bella, that letter was needed!!! Was that really a hat?
Jazz says:
December 6, 2009, 3:12 pm
Can she please stop wearing sequins all over her body - it looks like a confetti truck ran into a cow and she is the end result . Also , can she please stop with the fur - that thing around her neck makes it look like she has no neck - just a head then a big fur and sequined body
Gisele says:
December 7, 2009, 3:29 pm
Some of Aunty ReRe's outfits from back in the day (when she was very slim)- were a scandal also. Let's just say, she did not believe in wearing bras back then, either. I think my current fave was the inauguration hat she wore tipped to the side, though.
Soleilchocolat says:
December 10, 2009, 2:28 am
Haha bella, you're a hoot! As true as Ms. Aretha's fashion mishaps are, I loved the gray bowed hat she rocked during President Obama's Inauguration ceremony...
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