Saturday, May 19, 2012

In Memory of Donna Summer (1948-2012)

Dottie Rambo, Donna Summer, and myself  in 2002 (aprox)
Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines (December 31, 1948), was known to the world as "Donna Summer", died of lung cancer on May 17, 2012, in her Key West, FL home. Summer is survived by husband, Bruce Sudano, their daughters Brooklyn and Amanda, as well as her daughter Mimi from a previous marriage.

The name "Donna Summer" is known as The Queen Of Disco Music. Her groundbreaking records helped pioneer the success of Disco music. Songs like "Love To Love You Baby", "Hot Stuff" as well as countless others made Donna a huge star. Her song "She Works Hard For The Money", was a favorite of mine as a little kid.

Summer was also a very gifted writer. When Summer wrote the song, "Starting Over Again", Dolly Parton heard the song and requested permission from Summer to record it. The song would become a number one country music record and crossover adult contemporary hit for Dolly. A decade or so later, Reba McEntire covered the song and it reached number nineteen on the country charts.

Donna was a devout born again Christian who used her celebrity to share her belief in Christ with audiences all over the globe. She received some negative press from those who were anti Christian, as she was falsely accused of making a statement that God sent aids as a judgement to gays during the height of the Aids epidemic.

 I had the pleasure of meeting Donna about 12 years ago. At the time I was managing Gospel Music Queen, Dottie Rambo, a longtime friend of Summers. The two sang for a Benny Hinn Crusade in Louisville, KY at Freedom Hall. During the Crusade, I hadn't heard the call for everyone on the platform to come forward to be prayed for. As Dottie Rambo's manager, I was naturally watching her during this time frame. I must have stood out, being the only person on the platform, in front of 15,000 attendees, still seated. An open palm brushed up and down my back asking if I wanted to go up for prayer. So focused on my job with Dottie, I didn't turn to see who it was trying to minister to me and simply whispered, "No". The sweet hand never left my back and once again a voice suggested prayer, "I can go with you, if you would like?".  I continued that I was fine. Then a third nudge of encouragement from the same voice "Are you sure, I promise it doesn't hurt!" snapped me into a reality check. I turned to share with the woman that I too was a Christian but since Dottie had recently broken her leg I was staying focused on her, should she need me. Then I notice, the sweet lady trying to minister to me, was Ms. Donna Summer. She and I shared a laugh, and that moment is very special to me, what a precious lady. We spent the next two days off and on with Donna, she was truly a blessing.

Donna Summer is now with Dottie Rambo and many others singing to their God, a new song of the redeemed and kicking up Gold Dust.


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