*From what we know about Aretha Franklin, she was no shrinking violet. Nope, she had no problem telling you what she was thinking. It’s something Fantasia Barrino can tell you about because she experienced it first-hand when they first met.
“I was able to sing for her when they were honoring her [at a 2007 tribute concert] at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, which is actually where I won ‘American Idol,’” Barrino told Billboard recently. “I was stupid nervous because I was the little girl that was listening to Aretha. My first cassette was Aretha Franklin.”
After performing her tribute, Barrino, 34, was introduced to Franklin.
“She walked around the room gracefully, as Aretha would do – very smooth,” Barrino remembered. “She shook hands, gave people one or two words and kept it moving.”
But, according to Fantasia, Franklin’s mood suddenly shifted when she reached her.
“She finally gets to me, and she looks at me – I’m still crying. And she said, ‘You can sing – but I’m the bitch around here.’ I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute! That’s not what I was ready for!’ But she was serious.”
Barrino replied says she replied, “Yes, ma’am.”
“And I understood exactly what she was saying because she was that in my life, for me,” the Grammy winner explained. “There will never, ever be another Aretha Franklin. That’s what she was letting me know: ‘You’re good, but always know, I’m the head chick.’”
Barrino will be among those to perform at the Queen of Soul’s funeral in Detroit on Aug. 31. She will be joined by Jennifer Hudson, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill and many others.