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Maria Howell: Aretha Franklin?!

By: Bela Amel, Okinawa

Date Posted: 1999-11-13

Yet again, we have our weekly praise of Ms Howell in the ”Maria Howell Update”…errr uh, Japan Update. We have all heard the superlatives about Maria, we have all heard about her 14 year old accomplishments again and again… But here is something to consider: though she does have vocal talent, it is outstanding that she is still here in Okinawa, with the bulk of her fans being Japanese!

I’m personally more impressed with the talent of the writers/reviewers who have managed to rehash the same story repeatedly and get away with it.

Americans... and particularly Black Americans know that in almost any black neighborhood church, there are common vocalists whose talent easily exceed that of Ms. Howell, and it’s no big thing. So we are not as easily impressed as her native Okinawan fans. Ms. Howell is doing what she should be doing, given her location, and she is a "good" vocalist, a "great" self promoter.

However, as good as the local writers are in playing her up, we do have ears of our own and not all those ears belong to Okinawans. My suggestion, be careful when you start trying to compare her to our TRUE legends like ARETHA FRANKLIN!

P.S.: Wasn’t “The Color Purple” 14-15 years ago? Just wondering…

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