Little Richard: the king is dead. Long live the queen!

When news hit of rock legend Little Richard’s death, revisionists were quick to claim him as the originator of rock’n’roll. Bongani Madondo praises the camp queen, maps the African roots of the music and sets the record—a vinyl LP — straight

17 May 2020 - 00:00 By Bongani Madondo

Good Golly, Miss Molly, the larger-than-life Richard Penniman, is, uh, heavened-up! Little Richard died last Saturday at the age of 87 and the world lost its marbles. Lord ha' mercy, what we gonna do?

For one, we can all claim we loved him madly. That he was our darling queer avatar. The genesis of Afro-camp. That he liberated all our queer kin and kith. We can shout from the mountaintops of our Android and Apple devices that this "she-man", as he once described himself, was our symbol of resistance...

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