“she’s the next one”
The resemblance that the young Washington resisted was less vocal than
physical and temperamental—both she and Smith were considered “unattractive,
rough-hewn, and moody.” Washington sought to evade comparisons to this long-
dead, mythic cultural figure, about whom colorful stories continued to circulate
within black and blues communities even though her recordings no longer domi-
nated their airwaves and phonographs. In Cole’s case, her still vibrant precursor
Franklin, on the other hand, was firmly entrenched as the “Queen of Soul,” so
that the resemblances for which both she and her producers strove were seen not
simply as a form of flattery but as the theft of the resources of a contemporary.
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