Odetta’s Legacy

Odetta’s Legacy
Sonya Denyse with Pam Frank, Harry Belafonte and Odetta

She put the “F” in folk music.

It was backstage at B.B. King’s. We were relaxing in Odetta’s dressing room after her performance.

The door flew open. The producer announced that we should clear the room. Mr. Belafonte wanted to greet his dear  friend and sister-in-arms, Odetta. With calm, steady and pointed words, Odetta replied “Let him come in. I am not ashamed of them.” And enter he did.

She then introduced me as one of her daughters.

Odetta was  a  mentor, a friend and a client. Our work together was  both, personal and profound. She allowed me to be her “dream developer” helping her to “dream again”. When we met, she was mourning the loss of her sister. Ultimately I would work with her for several years, providing resources, being a liaison for both business and personal matters.

Her dream was to sing and so she did until her last breath.

I was both affected and infected by her person. Several years since her passing, I have only begun to realize that although I was helping her develop her final dreams, she was developing mine.