You know, I always thought my grandfather looked so much like BB King. And when I was growing up, I was addicted to The Thrill is Gone. I would listen to that song all the time. And my grandparents didn’t stop me. Granddaddy never really mined me listening to old songs, it was just the BET “beep bop” that seemed to drive him mad. I was, after all, five decades younger than my grandparents. Fifty years behind them. But we did agree on one thing. B.B. King was the King of Blues. And even though granddaddy was a preacher, didn’t curse or drink. He did like a little blues. And so did I.
What shocked me even more was that my grandfather, the awesome man that he is, knew B.B. King. He had met Anna Mae (Tina Turner) and knew B.B. King! Well, they were not best buddies, but the fact that he knew him…that they knew each other, blew my mind. Granddaddy became even more of a rock star in my eyes, which was hard, because he was one miracle from walking on water in my eyes.
Today, we have lost a legend. In his life, he witnessed so much. Segregation. Desegregation. The assassination of Dr. King, Malcom X, and President Kennedy, but he also was alive to witness the first African-American (Multicultural) President of the United States.
He died today at 89 in Las Vegas. Riley B. King lived a long life. The Mississippi native’s reign as “king of the blues” lasted more than six decades and straddled two centuries, influencing a generation of rock and blues musicians, from Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to Sheryl Crow and John Mayer.
B.B. King, though unknowingly appeared in Highness, my last book. Well, his songs received a cameo.
The CD player switched songs and another B.B. King ballad played. The Ghetto Woman turned on, making the already dismal scene more depressing.
Hearing the words and playing of Lucille in Hope’s ears made her stomach knot up into little balls, and the tears that she tried hard to stop poured out from her diaphragm.
I guess that you could say that even after growing up, my love for B.B. King still finds its way back into my life.
Mississippi lost a son, Memphis lost a icon, the world lost a legend.
So here is to B.B. King today. Let’s raise our coffee mugs and send him off with a prayer for his daughter and family and recognition that he lived.
Latrivia S. Nelson