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UPDATED: 2:00 a.m. ET, Jan. 19, 2022

While death is inevitably a part of life, that truth doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to those who have died.

Mere words cannot begin to capture the excellence of André Leon Talley. The fashion icon passed away Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 73. Visionary, legendary, phenom are all words that have been used to describe Talley and his impact on both fashion and journalism.

While younger generations may know him from his time as a judge on “America’s Next Top Model,” Talley has been a fixture in high fashion and journalism for almost 50 years.

Variety called the former creative director and editor-at-large for Vogue a “titan of fashion journalism.” Talley stood at an impressive 6-foot-six-inches, with his presence felt in each room he entered.

Talley’s bylines included Vanity Fair, HG, Interview, Ebony and Women’s Wear Daily. A prolific influence on fashion and beyond, Talley got his start at Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine in 1975, later becoming the fashion news editor at Vogue.

“Over the past five decades as an international icon was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg, Bethann Hardison and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers,” read a post on his official Instagram.

Speaking at Oxford Union in May 2013, Talley credited his grandmother Francis Davis as one of two women who helped him become his full self. He shared that his grandmother was a maid at Duke University.

“I learned style from my grandmother. Actually, I owe my grandmother a great deal about style,” Talley said. “We didn’t talk about style. For me, she was style.”

The other woman was Diana Vreeland, his entry point into the world of curation and museum-style. As a young person, Talley scored an internship with Vreeland at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He would later develop a deep working relationship with the French journalist and curator, later styling her for a shoot for W Magazine.

Part of his fascination with Vreeland stems from his interest in the French language. He attended Brown University on a scholarship, studying French. At one point, Talley planned on becoming a French teacher.

Talley is a masterful storyteller who weaves in anecdotes and life lessons with each passing minute. He went from being a small child obsessed with fashion magazines to being one of the leading fashion editors in the world.

He was known for giving back to young people, even serving on the Board of Trustees for the Savannah College of Art and Design for more than 20 years. For those unfamiliar with Talley’s work, the 2017 documentary “The Gospel According to André” is a journey through the life and career of the phenomenal creator.

Watch his full address at Oxford Union below.

Keep reading to learn more about the notable Black lives we’ve lost in 2022.

Rest In Power: Notable Black Folks Who We’ve Lost In 2022  was originally published on newsone.com

1. Andre Leon Talley

Andre Leon Talley Source:Getty

André Leon Talley passed away Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 73.

2. Brigadier General Charles McGee – Dulles, VA

Brigadier General Charles McGee - Dulles, VA Source:Getty

Brigadier General Charles McGee was called home at the age of 102. NBC 4 Washington quoted his family as saying McGee passed away peacefully Sunday morning. He is survived by his three children and countless grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. 

Becoming a centenarian is among McGee’s many amazing accomplishments. One of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen, McGee was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on his 100th birthday.

“My approach to life was, and still is, ‘Do while you can,’” McGee said in a 1999 interview with Aviation History.  

Born in Cleveland, OH McGee’s family moved a lot when he was growing up finally landing in Chicago in High School. After earning money in the Civilian Conservation Corps, McGee went on to the University of Illinois. McGee was also a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

When news of Pearl Harbor broke, McGee joined the military becoming a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. He would go on to fly 409 combat missions in World War II,  the Korean War and Vietnam. McGee retired at the rank of Colonel in 1973. According to the National World War II Museum, McGee flew more combat missions in the three wars than any other pilot. 

He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2020, McGee was honored both by NASA and at the 2020 State of the Union. Former President Trump promoted him to the rank of Brigadier General ahead of the State of the Union. 

McGee appreciated the honor but said it would’ve been nice to have that recognition while he was still in service.

“At first I would say ‘wow,’ but looking back, it would have been nice to have had that during active duty, but it didn’t happen that way,” McGee told U.S. Airforce News. “But still, the recognition of what was accomplished, certainly, I am pleased and proud to receive that recognition and hopefully it will help me carry on as we try to motivate our youth in aviation and space career opportunities.”

Last month McGee celebrated his 102nd birthday at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tx.

“General McGee came up to the cockpit today while we were flying and I let him know it was like flying my hero. It was just an honor to have him up here with us today,” Lt. Col. Joseph Harding told News4SA last month.

A STEM scholarship in his honor is set to begin in the Fall of 2022. The scholarship will support Black high school students interested in a career in a STEM field.  

3. Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector Source:Getty

Ronnie Spector, the pop music singer who rose to fame in the 1960s as part of the girl group the Ronnettes, died Wednesday at the age of 78. The Associated Press reported that Spector’s death came after a battle with cancer. 

Born Veronica Bennett, the New York City native who was raised in Harlem began performing with her older sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley, as the Ronettes in the early 1960s. They were officially discovered after winning the renowned amateur night talent competition at the world-famous Apollo Theater. 

After signing to the record label of music producer Phil Spector — who would later marry Ronnie Spector — the Ronettes turned the world performing the likes of “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain,” two of the group’s signature hit songs. 

According to Biography.com: 

“… the Ronettes cultivated an image modeled on the streetwise women of their Spanish Harlem roots. Spector in particular is now known as “the original bad girl of rock n’ roll”—she and her band mates wore dark mascara and short skirts, which pushed the envelope at that time.” 

Ronnie ultimately went solo in 1964 and enjoyed a career that spanned through 2017, when the Ronettes released their first single in decades. 

She and Phil Spector married in 1968, after which the couple adopted three children. Phil Spector would ultimately die in prison as a convicted murder following their divorce. 

Far Out Magazine recalled the tumultuous relationship the couple had. 

“Phil Spector was the definition of abusive. From the get-go, owing to jealousy and other questionable elements of his ideation, he turned Ronnie into a shadow of her former self. Over the course of their marriage, Phil Spector became as controlling and psychologically dominant as was possible. He turned his 23-room mansion into a maximum-security prison. It boasted chain-link fences, barbed wire and intercoms in every room, making it nigh on impossible for Ronnie to leave. Her husband had come to embody Orwell’s Big Brother.” 

In 1998, the Ronettes sued Phil Spector claiming he owed them more than $10 million in unpaid royalties. 

The New York Times reported at the time: 

“The plaintiffs claim that after recording 28 songs with Mr. Spector, they were paid a pittance in the early 1960’s, and that Mr. Spector has wrongly deprived them of millions, not only from the sale of their records but also from the licensing of their hit songs in commercials and television shows like ”Moonlighting,” and in films like ”Dirty Dancing” and ”Goodfellas.”” 

4. James Mtume, Grammy award-winning musician

James Mtume, Grammy award-winning musician Source:Getty

Grammy award-winning musician James Mtume reportedly passed away on Sunday, Jan 9 just six days after his 76th birthday. Born James Forman, he was a renowned musician, songwriter, and producer.  

A Philadelphia native, Mtume was exposed to musical greatness from birth as the son of Jazz saxophonist Jimmy Health and stepson of James “Hen Gates” Forman a pianist for Charlie Parker. His love of jazz would continue in his own career joining Miles Davis’ band from 1971-1975 as a percussionist. During that time Mtume recorded three acoustic jazz compositions. 

He later took his eclectic jazz sound, experimenting with digital sounds to create a jazz/R&B/funk blend called “Sophistafunk.” Mtume reached new heights with his self-titled group, recording on the Epic Label from 1978 to 1986.

Their hit single “Juicy Fruit” would go on to become a widely sampled song in the world of Hip Hop. In a 2018 interview with NBC News, Mtume shared that allowing the song to be sampled for “Juicy” by Biggie introduced a new generation to the classic.

He also wrote hit singles for artists like Teddy Pendergrass, Phyllis Hyman, Mary J. Blige and K-Ci & JoJo. Working with guitarist Reggie Lucas, Mtume co-wrote the classic “The Closer I Get to You” sung by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. 

“Never Knew Love Like This,” which Mtume wrote for songstress Stephanie Mills, won a Grammy for Best R&B song. 

 

5. Lani Guinier, civil rights attorney

Lani Guinier, civil rights attorney Source:Getty

Civil rights lawyer, legal scholar and professor Lani Guinier, whose nomination to serve as the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in President Bill Clinton’s administration was derailed thanks to Republican opposition based on the topic of race, has died at the age of 71. 

She died following complications from Alzheimer’s disease, the Washington Post reported, a citing family member. 

Guinier broke a number of racial barriers in both academia and the legal profession with her work at Ivy League colleges, including Harvard Law School, where she became the first Black woman to be granted tenure. 

On Friday, Harvard Law School Dean John Manning eulogized Guinier in a message to faculty and staff sharing the news of her death. 

“Her scholarship changed our understanding of democracy — of why and how the voices of the historically underrepresented must be heard and what it takes to have a meaningful right to vote. It also transformed our understanding of the educational system and what we must do to create opportunities for all members of our diverse society to learn, grow, and thrive in school and beyond,” Manning wrote in part. 

Despite all of Guinier’s amazing accomplishments in life — including but certainly not limited to being a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University as well as being assistant counsel at the NAACP LDF and serving as special assistant to Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days in President Jimmy Carter’s administration — she will likely be most remembered for her controversial nomination to serve in the Department of Justice decades later. 

After Clinton nominated Guinier for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1993, Republicans pounced because of her views on race and racial discrimination. As an explainer in The Atlantic pointed out, critical race theory became a part of public discourse during the confirmation hearing. Clinton was consequently accused of not fighting hard enough, or at all, for Guinier’s nomination and ultimately withdrew it. 

A Wall Street Journal op-ed writer went so low as to call Guinier “Clinton’s Quota Queen,” which was just a few racist inches away from calling her a “welfare queen.” 

Guinier, a leading legal mind in the area of alternative voting rights, ending up taking a bullet for the Democratic team. She didn’t protest (too loudly) about the smear job done on her by Republican hatchet men. But she did have some choice words during an NAACP conference following the nomination debacle. 

“I endured the personal humiliation of being vilified as a madwoman with strange hair — you know what that means — a strange name and strange ideas, ideas like democracy, freedom and fairness that mean all people must be equally represented in our political process,” Guinier said at the time. “But lest any of you feel sorry for me, according to press reports the president still loves me. He just won’t give me a job.” 

6. Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier Source:Getty

Our beloved, Sidney Poitier, the legendary actor, pioneer, trailblazer and activist who broke many racial and color barriers in the entertainment industry, starring some of Hollywoods most iconic movies ever, has passed away at 94.Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for his starring role in “Lilies of the Field” in 1963.

7. Jessie Lee Daniels

Jessie Lee Daniels Source:Getty

Jessie Lee Daniels of The Force MD’s has reportedly died at 57.

The singer’s management confirmed his passing on Facebook.

“Please put a heart up for him. He was loved!!!!!!!!!! TO the family, friends and fans today we lost a real talent. Our condolences goes out to his siblings, kids and the Force MDs,” reads the post as reported by The Mirror.

8. Max Julien

Max Julien Source:Getty

Max Julien, star of “The Mack,” passed away at the age of 88 on January 1.