The Perfect Angel

Here we are again in the backseat of my mom’s ’93 Lexus riding around Trenton. Its a hot summer day and she has all the windows down with the sunroof cracked back. Of course the radio is blasting 105.3 WDASFM and Auntie Patty Jackson is giving us the Midday 411. Then all of a sudden I hear birds chirping……then this beautiful melody starts playing. Looooooooovvvvviiiiiinnnn yoooooouuu…….I thought to myself “Oh this sounds so pretty wonder who this is?”

Then I hear from the front…


Sis……SIS!!! My mom was getting her everlasting life! Off key and flat of course but she was into it! This time I didnt interrupt her and just waited for Auntie Patty to come back on and tell me who this songbird was.

“…..That was the great Minnie Ripertona singing her hit Lovin’ You…”

Minnie Riperton, like Minnie Mouse? Thats a funny name but I love her voice. Now this was on a Tuesday afternoon and WDAS always has Double Play Tuesday’s so they played another Minnie song. Memory Lane. Now this was little more funkier. I started to sway a bit in the backseat. I’ve heard this song before but never really payed it any attention until now. Well because now I know who it is….Minnie Riperton. Now I was young and I mixed up the words a bit, so at the end of the song Minnie started wailing “SAAAAAVE ME SAVE ME SAVE ME SAAAAVVVEEEE MEEEE!!”. But what I heard was “CELIE CEEEEELIE CELIE CELIE CEEEEELLLLIIEE!”. So I asked my mom why she kept saying Celie??? I had just watched The Color Purple so I was wondering was this on the soundtrack or something. Of course I didn’t get an answer so I went about my days saying CEEEEELIE!!

The first time I actually laid eyes on a picture was years later. I was Diggin’ In The Crate as per usual on a late night. I believe I was on a Mariah kick. From one video came another…and then another….and then another. Finally I came across a video that said Mariah Carey vs Minnie Riperton.

In my mind Im thinking to myself “Oh here we go with some stupid stats video” but what I stumbled onto opened my mind and my ears. It opened another portal to vocal abilities. I heard these two women do some things with their voices that I never thought was possible. Of course from there I dived deep into Minnie’s discography. I wanted to see all of her live performances. I wanted to hear all of her album cuts. I wanted to actually SEE her hit these notes! I stumbled across Adventures In Paradise…..

and Reasons….

and Every Time He Comes Around….

and Minnie’s Lament…..

and Can You Feel What Im Saying….

All these wonderful gems. All this ear candy. All these lyrics of love and joy. I never heard anything like this…..well…theres one person that comes to mind but I’ll talk about her later.

I knew she had passed of breast cancer. I actually knew that before I even knew what she looked like. I knew her daughter Maya Rudolph was on Saturday Night Live. But up to that point I didn’t know who she was. Then her Unsung episode came around and I just feel in love with her being. She was so sweet and so loving and so dam musically gifted. She was definitely a Perfect Angel. It was dope learning she worked with Stevie Wonder and Deniece Williams with WonderLove. Also learned that she had Deniece wailing in the background of Every Time He Comes Around! She was in a psychedelic band called Rotary Connection and it was with them she recorded one of my favorite Christmas tracks Silent Night . That song should be in the vocal hall of fame, honestly. Minnie had an effortless talent and although sales wise she wasn’t on the top, she attained her legendary status with being….just Minnie and there is only one! She has many musical children, most notably Mariah Carey and Chanté Moore (who has done several Minnie covers) so her influence lives on and especially with her kids Maya and Marc. She is forever our Perfect Angel.


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