Last week, the Tribeca Film Festival celebrated Clive Davis with the premiere of the documentary The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, followed by a concert from many of the legendary artists who have worked with the music mogul. Among them were Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin, the latter of whom has never been shy about sharing her unfiltered thoughts about her (mostly female) contemporaries. And as Warwick—and the Associated Press—found out via a “lengthy fax” from Franklin, sometimes those feuds can be sparked by something as innocuous as a comment made five years ago.
As the AP reports, Franklin ran into Warwick backstage, where she refused to give her a hug. “I said, ‘Oh hell no. You couldn’t be serious,’” Franklin said in a follow-up interview, she’s still mad over a “libelous statement” Warwick made at Whitney Houston’s funeral in 2012. There, Warwick told assembled mourners that Franklin, who was unable to attend, was Houston’s godmother. It’s an oft-repeated, and seemingly harmless myth—though according to Franklin, Warwick “blatantly lied on me … fully well knowing what she was doing.” In her estimation, being associated with Houston’s well-documented troubles—”around the drugs, around her and Bobby (Brown) supposed to be fighting”—was “damaging” to her reputation. And she’s apparently been waiting all this time to set the record straight.
“I don’t care about her apology. At this point it isn’t about an apology, it’s about libel,” Franklin said. (Technically, it’s about slander—though really, it’s dubious that it’s about that.) Franklin also noted, “We’ve never been friends and I don’t think that Dionne has ever liked me.” And if that wasn’t true before, it seems likely to be the case now: Warwick’s representative tells the AP, “She will not dignify a response to the statement made by Aretha Franklin.” These two will not keep smiling, nor will they keep shining.
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