RIP Lena Horne

I’ve made my feelings about Lena Horne known before, so if you read this post, you know how I feel right now. One of my life’s inspirations is gone.

Lena Horne, singer, actress and iconic beauty, passed away tonight at the age of 92. Her New York Times obituary is an inspiring read for any fan of hers, particularly for this passage:

“Looking back at the age of 80, Ms. Horne said: “My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.””

Such sad words to write. RIP, Lena Horne. Thank you for 92 years of inspiration.

* photo via Huffington Post.

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Comments

  1. RIP Lena. Like many women of her time, she had to fight for so much. She fought on and won! She will be missed.

  2. She was truly an inspiration. A HUGE one for me. Ms. Horne, you will be missed, terribly :(

  3. RIP Ms. Horne. As a black woman, as any woman, we have any number of awesome women to look to. Thank you for being one of the brightest!!

  4. RIP Ms.Lena Horne. Her legacy is undeniable.

  5. paradisebird says:

    RIP, Ms Horne. You will be missed. Nobody is going forever….

  6. This news brought tears to my eyes! We’ve lost such a graceful and thoughtful person. Thank you for tweeting her appearances on the Muppet Show and The Cosby Show, these were my first introductions to her as a child too!

  7. Sad for her to go and on Mother’s Day too. She has always been a lady and to me I didn’t see a colour to her just a gracious warm talented woman. R.I.P. Ms. Horne.

  8. Ms. Horne epitomized the word “icon”. She will truly be missed!

  9. Oh Bella! I am so so sad to hear this. I wondered why the TJMS show was playing her songs on my morning drive to work.
    May she rest in peace.

  10. Little Miss V says:

    So sad to hear she passed. May Lena rest in perfect peace. Her legacy will not be forgoten. RIP

  11. I remember reading your post about Lena Horne awhile back and thought to myself, “Someone else has this secret love affair for this great woman” She is a woman of true class and beauty. She taught me my ABCs on Sesame Street and she sang to me in The Wiz, and to say Im a little hurt is an understatement. Thank you soo much Afrobella for recognizing her before her death.

  12. Philip Swan says:

    Today is one of those days I’ve known would come: Lena Horne has left us. I don’t think she herself really knew how great she was, and if anyone’s still in doubt, the videos and recordings are there as proof. She transcended all barriers, generations, and genres, and that’s what talent should do.

  13. Bosslady312 says:

    just thought i would share my memories of lena horne. i would spend summers with my grandparents and my granddad LOVED lena! i would watch these old moves (stormy weather & cabin in the sky) and granddad would point and tell me & my sisters to listen to the pretty lady on the screen belt out these songs. i didnt understand why at the time but i knew she HAD to be important for us to watch and be quiet… i get it now.

  14. I was shocked to hear that such a great woman has gone home.
    I think that the quote you’ve posted is not sad at all, it’s quite clear to me that she realized at the age of 80 that she is unique and perfectly, wonderfully made in the eyes of God. What an incredible world this would be if all women felt secure enough in themselves to simply be and be happy with what they see in the mirror. What a woman, what a human being she was. She will be missed.

  15. I was in awe of Lena Horne’s strength. She had such love for her people. She lived in an era where many w/her hue passed to make life “easier”. Yet, she proclaimed her heritage and paved the way for others.

    IT’s wild-last week, I dreamt about Lena. I mentioned it to my father and wondered how she was doing. My father began to share stories of Lena’s contributions.I would love for a movie to be made of her life. She will be truly missed.

  16. I remember watching Lena Horne with my mom when I was young. I didn’t have a clue what she meant to that generation yet, but I could tell by the way my mother talked, that Lena Horne was something special. Years later, I understand why. RIP

  17. Lamar Cole says:

    Lena Horne was a lovely lady and always a class act.

  18. I wanted to share what I remember of Lena Horne. In 1981 I was working in midtown Manhattan when Lena Horne had a one woman musical revue on Broadway (The Lady And Her Music). I would commute to work frequently by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and first saw Lena Horne at Penn Station in New York, catching a commuter train. In fact, I began to see here often about the same time each day in Penn Station commuting with what appeared to be business associates or family members during my commute home.

    While I was not a fan of her music at the time, I knew of her legacy in show business and her work as a civil rights activist. I was struck by the fact that she remained quite beautiful and trim at the age of 65. And, she was always tasteful and understated in her way of dressing. She was a striking presence. However, she did not have the overbearing sense-of-self often seen in celebrities. She was relaxed, informal, and simply got on with the business at hand without fanfare. Yet, if someone recognized her and approached, she was consistently polite and charming. She would often have a brief and engaging conversation that left a big smile on a fan’s face. She was quite ‘down-to-earth’ and approachable. Her old world manners was something I saw her display more than once even when it appeared that she was visibly tired. I was impressed by that. After a few months passed I did not see her again. However, she left a very favorable impression.

    In a way, she reminded me of my own mother, who has an extraordinary capacity to bond quickly with complete strangers. No one is a stranger around her. I remember being at the airport once to pick up my mother from a vacation flight. She was hugging and being hugged by people who exited the plane with her. “Who are those people?” I asked her. “Oh, some folks I met on the plane.” was her reply. That left quite an impression on me, although I did not say so at the time. Being painfully shy as a young man, I wondered if I would ever develop that same ability. My mother, like Lena Horne, has seen her share of pain and adversity. Yet, those trials had a refining effect on her personality, enabling her to develop endearing qualities tested and strengthened by adversity. I find that as I endure life’s challenges, disappointments and adversities, it is also making me more empathetic, more focused on the needs of others. Much like my mother.

    Sadly, as the older generation passes away, so it seems, goes the sense of refinement, good manners and social skills that were once considered evidence of ‘good upbringing.’ Being considered a gentlemen or lady were once desired achievements. Times have changed, and not for the better. Many today dress to shock, insult or titillate, and vulgarity is now common in the speech of pre-teens. People are more inclined to give you a “piece of their mind” rather than polite conversation. Lena Horne reminded me of a time when good manners mattered. She will be missed.

  19. Enjoyed reading your article. I agree with the comments of another reader. As the older generation passes on so does its sense of taste and manners. Miss Horne will be missed.

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