55 thoughts on “More Inauguration Goodness

  1. Inclusive of the hat, those shades of grey between hat/coat/scarf/gloves were divine. Woman looks awesome even all bundled up against the Washington cold.

  2. I love that hat.

    I am somewhat conflicted that the hat is taking up time that could be spent talking about more substantive issues.

    But seriously. That hat is fierceness incarnate.

  3. I watched The Divine Aretha from a crowded auditorium in Detroit. She got more cheers than the President here. Which is saying something!

  4. Inclusive of the hat, those shades of grey between hat/coat/scarf/gloves were divine. Woman looks awesome even all bundled up against the Washington cold.

    With the pearl earrings and the silver pin! I know! She’s got me talking like Mr. Blackwell and I buy my clothes at Land’s End, ferchrissake.

  5. I am somewhat conflicted that the hat is taking up time that could be spent talking about more substantive issues.

    I strongly submit that a hat that incredible counts as a substantive issue facing our nation.

  6. The best hat in the history of millinery? No.

    But I go to a black church. You should see us at Easter, man.

    Fair enough!

    I am still transfixed by this one, though.

  7. I loved the hat, but let’s not forget that the Queen of Fucking Soul took that dried up old also-ran not-quite-national-anthem, and made it awesome. ‘Cause she doesn’t just wear hats, she also sings!

    You know, speaking of substantive issues facing our nation. (Stick that in your hat, Toby Keith.)

  8. ‘Cause she doesn’t just wear hats, she also sings!

    Wait, what? There was sound on that video?

    (Kidding, kidding. You can rhapsodize about Aretha’s singing around here any time you like.)

  9. Black woman. Black President’s inauguration. What did she sing? “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where our fathers died…”

    That song doesn’t often seem like it means much, but perhaps it does now.

  10. She sang the crap out of that song and wore the crap out of that hat. Seriously awesome.

    Speaking of hats, I swear there was a link on this site probably like a year and a half ago of a woman who made gorgeous hats and photographed plus sized girls wearing them. Does anyone recall this link? Did I imagine the gorgeous hats and be-corseted women? Because I really can’t find it again.

  11. Ailbhe, I had the very same thought about that phrase.

    And that hat was simply epic. No other way to describe it. As was her singing.

    The poem though… ugh. Srsly.

  12. buttercup, I liked the poem, but I think Alexander’s reading style didn’t suit the poem very well. Her poems are usually shorter, less discursive, more punchy, and I imagine it would be difficult to adopt a wholly new style for such an unusual occasion. But I thought it invoked Whitman, a wholly appropriate thing to do on such a day, and I loved the end:

    Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

    In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

    On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

    (Full disclosure: I studied under Elizabeth Alexander in college so I am undoubtedly biased. But I do think the poem was a fine composition for such a daunting occasion.)

  13. I am loving that hat, both as an object of art and as a statement. Because nobody in US society today wears hats as frequently, and as well, as black women of a certain age (the coffee-table book Crowns is a wonderful celebration of that).

    And this hat comes right out of that tradition in its magnificence, and here it is in a place of honor, worn by a revered performer (a true national treasure) at the Presidential inauguration.

    How awesome is that?

  14. I’m with you on the poem, Sweet Machine–I liked it, but I wanted to be almost, well, sung…staccato cadence didn’t work for me with such lyrical phrasing.

  15. I like that hat–everyone in my office was straight up mean about it. In defense, I said that I had ten ordered from awesome.diva.hats.com

    I didn’t particularly care for her rendention–I think she cut it up too much and she should have had a couple more long notes, showing off those pipes and giving a contrast.

    I loved Simple Gifts–a bit of Kentucky–by the quartet.

    peace

  16. FIERCE!

    Ms. Beoynce’s been bringing it, too with her fierce fierceness. And Bettye LaVette on Sunday! She was fantastic. And Mary J!

    I hope this administration continues with the theme of FIERCE! even after the pomp and circumstance are put away.

    *happy puppy sigh*

  17. I watched this on a very fuzzy antenna-based tv today at work, so I totally could not tell that the hat. had. rhinestones. on. it. Epic win.

  18. Hopefully, knock-offs will be available soon. In red. And when it is, I will push people out of the way to get my hands on one.

  19. I love Obama, but I think I love that hat even more.

    I had to read Free Food For Millionaires for my intro women’s studies class last semester, and the main character is a part-time milliner. I think I kind of understand the fascination now.

  20. Love the icon Swellanor! Loved the hat too! One of the great things about being a bigger woman is that I can pull off a bigger hat!

  21. I just watched the video. Ms Franklin totally rocked that hat!

    Her voice should be declared a national treasure. But then again, this is coming from someone who would listen to her sing the phone book. * sigh *

  22. To Bree: Thank you for not making me feel alone in NOT feeling that hat. I think it’s because I’ve been desensitized by years of attending Baptist services. Shoot, some of my more vivid childhood memories come from giggling at the Sunday hats decked out in various beaded, sequined, laced, and formerly live creature-furred/feathered trims and accents.

    To everyone else who loved the hat: More power to you, to each her own!

  23. I think it’s because I’ve been desensitized by years of attending Baptist services. Shoot, some of my more vivid childhood memories come from giggling at the Sunday hats decked out in various beaded, sequined, laced, and formerly live creature-furred/feathered trims and accents.

    See, what I actually love so much about the hat is that it is SO CLOSE to making me giggle, but somehow, the overall impression I get is classy. The fact that she walked right up to that line, but stayed just this side of it (to my taste) is what’s so totally amazing to me.

    So I can sort of feel you not feeling it. One more rhinestone or centimeter of height, and she probably would have crossed the line in my head. But this works for me, and it works even more so for being so damned close to not working.

  24. Dude, we could not stop talking about the hat. Spectacular.

    I thought the poem was great, but the scope was generally personal and mundane building towards a greater theme, and I’m not sure that translated as well to the situation (speaking publicly on a momentous occasion, and speaking after Barack) as well as something more fiery and sweeping might *coughMayaAngeloucough*. Sarah Haskins said on her Twitter that it put her in mind of “Easter 1916,” though, which I thought was interesting.

    The Project Rungay dudes didn’t like Michelle’s outfit or her ball gown, and I confess I didn’t like the latter either, but I love that (like Aretha’s hat) she’s always trying things that are new and maybe weird. The endless Jackie O. comparisons are certainly on to something, but she doesn’t restrict herself to that look — she builds something risky on top of a classic base.

  25. “I thought the poem was great, but the scope was generally personal and mundane building towards a greater theme, and I’m not sure that translated as well to the situation (speaking publicly on a momentous occasion, and speaking after Barack) as well as something more fiery and sweeping might *coughMayaAngeloucough*.”

    EXACTLY what i said, well…i said, what? no Maya Angelou?

  26. The poem often doesn’t work. When you see the footage of Kennedy’s inauguration, Robert Frost–who was often a great reader of his own poetry–kind of stumbles through it. (Apparently, Frost had trouble reading it, and resorted to reciting what he remembered of the original poem, not the special version for the Inauguration, from memory.)

  27. ok…I didn’t like the hat..sorry..But yay for Aretha for wearing it.
    Feel free to kill me.

    As for the poem..I loved it but the way she read it sucked. I had to go and read it online to get the full scope of it.

  28. Aretha wore the hell out of that gorgeous crown, and I was transfixed. I’ve been saying for years that people need to wear more and better hats. I say let the Queen of Soul show us the way into the light of fine millinery.

    Like Kate, I’m thrilled that she walked right up to the line of OTT and gloriously failed to fall over it.

    But hey, there are people I see all the time who wouldn’t recognize me if I left off my chapeau.

    As for the poem, I kept thinking that the words were good but the delivery was not working. I kept wanting someone to say those words in a less choppy, staccato way. It’s nice to have that opinion backed up by Sweet Machine.

  29. I liked Elizabeth Alexander’s poem, but agree the delivery didn’t really do it justice. And as someone who was at the first Clinton inaugural, I thought it was a much better poem than Maya Angelou’s. Maybe if we could have had Alexander’s poem read in Angelou’s style?

    And I LOVED the hat. What cracked me was how obsessed Chris Matthews was with Ted Kennedy’s hat (which was a well-made but very traditional fedora) even after seeing Aretha’s hat. He kept talking about how Kennedy was bringing back the hat, and I thought “If anyone is doing that, it’s the Queen!”

  30. I loved the hat. People were giggling to myself, but I was thinking man, where do I get one of those! I am seriously considering starting a hat obsession now; I think I can pull it off

  31. ‘Kentucky? Isn’t Simple Gifts a Shaker hymn’

    Uhm Harrodsburg KY has/had a Shaker colony.. aka Shakertown because Kentucky’s awesome. (doing my best imitation of a snotty teenager voice)

    Hat was okay, song could have been better. Love loved loved the poem.

  32. Hmmm so after watching Aretha for the second time, maybe it was better than I thought. I guess I was hoping she’d belt it out a little more.

  33. I feel like I’m arriving late to the party.

    I also feel like starting a Facebook group: “All Hail to Aretha’s Hat.”

    Her performance was utterly spectacular (http://tinyurl.com/7kmyrb).

    I loved the poem and the reading. I’m a poetry geek and love being read to (http://tinyurl.com/9hbyf3).

    I loved the benediction. Moved me to tears through which I laughed at the end (http://tinyurl.com/7wp84c).

    Sorry for all the links to my blog, but there is just so much to say about that extraordinary occasion.

  34. “Kentucky? Isn’t Simple Gifts a Shaker hymn?”

    Yep, it was written at Shakertown–Harrodsburg, KY (there still are some Shakers there–about 6? and they are very old). A very cool vocalist I know has been working with old Shaker hymns/recovering them with some of the residents and the historical documents. Simple Gifts is beautiful, but a couple of the other lesser known hymns deserve to be revised as well–the harmonies and so transcendent.

    By the way, Kentucky is awesome–we still have a long way to go, but we’ll get there (oops, UU hymn reference).

  35. I was watching by myself in my living room–I don’t even think my upstairs neighbors were home to hear me. But if someone had been around, I would have been heard to remark, aloud, to the television, “That is the best goddamn hat I have ever goddamn seen.”

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