Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson Pay Tribute to Lena Horne
Following the recent death of legendary jazz singer and actress Lena Horne, several members of the entertainment community have paid homage to her legacy. Among them is Alicia Keys, who spoke with Vibe.com on Horne's life and influence.
"Lena's a powerful force of our history and legacy. She showed courage and tenacity during a tumultuous time reminding us all that our journey on earth is meant to make an impact," Keys said. "She broke down many barriers in the process. Lena the woman, the human being that is the most fascinating to me: her vulnerabilities, her life, her flow through the many difficult times (and good ones) and her ability to remain graceful, elegant and beautiful always. What a special, phenomenal woman. I will miss her." Ironically, talk show queen Oprah Winfrey showed interest in producing a film on Horne's life with Keys playing the lead roll.
Horne passed away Sunday (May 9) at the age of 92. Aside from starring in several films, she was a vocal supporter of the civil rights movement and broke racial barriers within the entertainment industry. During World War II the songstress refused to sing to a segregated audience of soldiers, and became the first black performer to tour with an all white band. Horne also marched with civil rights leader Medgar Evers one week before his assassination, attended the March on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, and worked with Elanor Roosevelt to help pass anti-lynching laws.
Upon hearing the news of her death many superstars took to their Twitter pages to pay their respects. "The passing of Lena Horne, a remarkable woman, is truly a great loss," wrote Janet Jackson, who was to play Horne in a biopic until she reportedly asked that Jackson be dropped from the film. "Her artistry, her beauty, her strength, and her drive have and will continue to inspire me. My deepest sympathies to her loved ones. Lena, I love u." A group of family and friends are set to gather today (May 14) for Horne's funeral, which will be held at the St. Ignatius Church in Manhattan.