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Queen of Soul And Shade: Aretha Franklin's All-Time Shadiest Moments

Thank you for your music and authenticity, Aretha Franklin. We will miss you.

Aretha Franklin was not only the Queen of Soul, but the Queen of legendary shade. Shade so pervasive that the moon tweeted condolences. Stories have peppered Franklin’s legend and lore, from ignoring other female vocalists to high-level diva antics and long-standing feuds with not only her contemporaries but her actual sisters.

Many such stories were featured in David Ritz’s unauthorized 2014 biography Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin (which Franklin denounced as “Lies, lies, lies and then more lies,”). In the digital age, we’ve watched other unfold in real time.

Since her death, Franklin’s infamous shade and pettiness have been a controversial topic on social media Many argue that celebrating her unflattering side sullies her legacy. It’d be a disservice to her memory not to celebrate her shade; it was a huge part of who she was, and Franklin’s realness played a key part in her incredible artistry. Her behavior wasn’t always rooted in trivial slights or jealousy, either. She didn’t take no mess and wasn’t going to let a slight – perceived or real – go unchecked. Her timing was impeccable and her methods of delivery unmatched, which suggests she knew she was shady, and masterfully so.

Franklin’s former talent agent Ruth Bowen told Ritz that “Falling-outs (were) her specialty,” but legendary session musician and longtime collaborator Billy Preston explained to the biographer why her shade and antics didn’t matter in the long-run: “She can go into her diva act and turn off the world. But on any given night, when that lady sits down at the piano and gets her body and soul all over some righteous song, she’ll scare the sh** out of you.”

Below, we run down some of the Queen’s top moments of royal shade.

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11. Not Allowing Dion’s Part To Go On

For the inaugural VH1 Divas Live in 1998, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Franklin closed the show with “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. It was meant to be an ensemble performance with surprise guest (and the song’s composer) Carole King, but Franklin led the entire song – since it is her song – and sang over Dion during her part.

10. Demanding Respect From Luther

The two worked together on Franklin’s “comeback” album Jump to It (1982), and then again on her album Get It Right (1983).

Vandross was excited to work with an idol, but deflated by their first phone call, a formal conversation where she introduced herself as “Ms. Franklin” and referred to him as “Mr. Vandross.”

He recounted the call to biographer Ritz, “The Aretha that I had heard through my entire childhood on the radio – warm and down-home – wasn’t the Aretha I heard on the phone.” The formality and tension continued into the studio. “There were a few sharp disagreements. Aretha doesn’t like her vocals critiqued – and understandably.”

Franklin’s version in Aretha: From These Roots aligned with Vandross on that point. "… Luther wanted to tell me how to sing when it was me whom he had learned much about how to sing. My point was simple: If he wanted to tell the artists how to sing, why didn't he sing it himself?”

Ultimately, Vandross won that shade-off. As they argued over the intro for “Jump to It”, he got the last word.

‘”Who's the one with the most hits here?’" she asked. Of course, the answer was her. I just had one; she had dozens. ‘But who's the one with the latest hit?’ I asked. She didn't answer. She stormed out."

As is the case with many of Franklin’s feuds, this wasn’t based on lack of respect for talent. In fact, it was usually spawned by the opposite. Franklin concluded in her autobiography, “We have a lot of mutual respect for each other. Even when we are not talking, we are still cool.”

9. Taking – And Owning – Dionne Warwick’s Song

During Franklin’s early career at Columbia, she was positioned as a jazz and blues artist, but she wanted to be a pop star. Meanwhile, Dionne Warwick was one of the more successful pop vocalists of the ’60s thanks to composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David. By several accounts, Franklin was jealous. Once she was established as a soul and R&B star, Franklin threw down a sonic gauntlet, covering Warwick’s hit “I Say a Little Prayer for You” just a year after release.

Where Warwick’s original version was mellow and shiny, Franklin’s was emotive and gritty. Adding insult to injury, it featured Cissy Houston, Warwick’s aunt, and Whitney’s mom, on background vocals. While it didn’t reach the same heights as Warwick’s on the charts, Franklin’s became the definitive version – even for Bacharach and David. Bacharach told NPR in 2010, “It’s a better record than the record we made.”

8. Letting Wendy Williams Know She Ain't A Game

In 2011 Franklin sat down for a one-on-one with Wendy Williams, and while Williams – known for her own shade – was deferential and respectful, she caught a couple of light jabs.

7. Mixing Down Mavis Staples’ Vocal

Mavis Staples was maybe Franklin’s closest contemporary, vocally; they both had that good ol’ church anointing on their voices. When they paired up for two songs on Franklin’s One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (1987), Franklin got a little shook, according to Erma’s account in Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin.“

Aretha listened to those duets, she was convinced that Mavis's voice overwhelmed hers. Singing with the one other gospel singer who could rightfully be called her equal, Aretha felt threatened. I told her she had nothing to worry about, that the two of them sounded great together," Erma said. "Their voices were completely complementary. But Aretha didn't hear it that way. She put Mavis's voice so low in the mix that you could barely hear it. It became an ordeal and caused a serious falling-out.”

6. Making It Clear “Queen Of Soul” Is A Reign, Not A Term

Natalie Cole’s first hits were songs originally written for and passed on by Franklin. The media immediately compared the two singers, speculating that Cole might steal the Queen of Soul crown. Cole was also the first artist other than Franklin to win the Grammy for Best R&B Performance Female with “This Will Be”, ending Franklin’s eight-year streak.

Cole idolized Franklin but was met with coldness during their first in-person encounter. She told Ritz, “The first time I saw Aretha was at an industry banquet. She gave me an icy stare and then turned her back on me. It took me weeks to recover. I mean, this is the woman whom I revere! She began this make-believe feud that I still don't understand. I give her the highest respect—then, now, and always.”

Franklin, understandably, wasn’t thrilled at the comparisons with someone newer and younger. She told Jet in 1977, “It's easy for a singer to sometimes pick up on another singer's sound, but that's just copying. It's really a compliment that she sounds like me on some songs. In fact, when I listen to her I hear little things that remind me of myself at the beginning of my career…I don't think she has the ability or the equipment to take anything from me and I'd say that to Natalie herself.”

5. It Doesn't Matter If We're Real Sisters

Franklin’s sisters Erma and Carolyn were also talented vocalists, groomed under father C.L. Franklin’s music ministry along with Aretha. They worked with her often (Carolyn wrote “Ain’t No Way”), but each had their own big career opportunities …that Franklin blocked. Erma shared that Curtis Mayfield originally tapped Carolyn to record the Sparkle soundtrack (1976), but once Aretha got wind, she jacked the project.

“She should have let Carolyn sing those Sparkle songs and then, afterward, do her own record with Curtis [Mayfield]. But somehow Aretha got a copy of the songs. They were so good that she felt she had to sing them."

Erma also shared with Ritz that Aretha quickly shut down discussion of Erma getting a record deal with Columbia’s sister label, Epic. "The man also said that I would be on Epic, which was a different brand than Columbia. They were part of the same company but I'd have my own producers and an identity separate from Aretha. I thought she would be thrilled. She wasn't. She threw a fit. She told Daddy that she didn't want me on Epic, that it would hurt her career and that people would be confused by too many singing Franklin sisters."

4. Keeping It Moving, Literally

The source of Franklin’s (perhaps one-sided) feud with Patti Labelle is unknown, but Franklin took it all the way to the White House. At the 2014 Women of Soul celebration, the Queen entered with much-deserved fanfare, making her fur-clad way to the stage through a sea of adoring subjects. When Labelle reached out to take her hand, Franklin hit her with an elusive maneuver so smooth you almost heard an audible “You thought.”

3. Asserting Her Royal Title With Tina Turner… And Beyonce

Introducing Tina Turner for a 2008 Grammy awards performance, Beyoncè exclaimed, “Give it up for the queen!” Not the “Queen of Soul”, not the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (which is Turner’s moniker). Simply, “the queen.” Watching from home, Franklin took offense, and released an official statement: "I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé, however, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy," Franklin’s press release read. She added an extra bit of cloud cover: "In addition to that, I thank the Grammys and the voting academy for my 20th Grammy and love to Beyoncé anyway."

Turner, however, was unbothered. When USA Today asked her to respond to Franklin's statement, she laughed it off. "She’s the queen of soul, and I’m the queen of rock ‘n’ roll… Her ego must be so big to think she was the only one."

2. Gowns, Beautiful Gowns

In 2014 the Wall Street Journal inadvertently gifted the world with one of the greatest gifs and catchphrases of the digital age when they asked Franklin for quick-fire reactions to current pop divas. She was positive about Adele (“Good singer”) and Whitney Houston (“She had a gift”), but employed what we’ll call a diplomatic approach for some others.

Alicia Keys: “Good performer. Good writer, producer.”

Taylor Swift: “Great gowns. Beautiful gowns.”

Nicki Minaj: “I’m gonna pass on that one.”

1. Facts Via Fax

At Whitney Houston’s funeral in 2012, Dionne Warwick, acting as master of ceremonies for the services, commented on Franklin’s absence. “Re's not here, but she is here,” Warwick remarked. “She loves Whitney as if she were born to her. She is her godmother.” In fact, Franklin had been referred to as Houston’s godmother for years without denial or rebuttal, including during the 2011 Wendy Williams interview referenced above.

Yet for some reason, after mulling it over for five years, Franklin decided to go on record that she was not Houston’s godmother. She sent a fax to the Associated Press accusing Warwick of libel. Franklin said in a follow-up phone interview, “She blatantly lied on me...fully well knowing what she was doing.” She also expressed that she’d been “far too busy” over the years “to be anyone’s godmother.” The statement was likely triggered by Franklin and Warwick seeing each other the week prior at the premiere of Clive Davis’ documentary Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives (Warwick signed with diva-maker Davis and Arista a year before Franklin). Franklin said Warwick tried to hug her when they saw each other. Her response? “I said, ‘oh hell no. You couldn’t be serious.’”

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10 Indie Artists Issa Rae’s Label Raedio Needs To Sign

Insecure star and creator Issa Rae has steamed up timelines all across social media with her trailer for the upcoming rom-com, The Photograph. But after spending much of recent years behind the camera and in front of it with her popular show Insecure and as an executive producer for Robin Thede's Black Lady Sketch Show and Rap Sh*t, she's taking a stab at the music business.

In October, the award-nominated creative announced Raedio, a joint partnership with Atlantic Records which will enable her new baby to carve out more space in the crowded entertainment industry.

“Music has always been an essential part of every project I do and working with emerging talent is a personal passion,” Rae said in a statement. “Raedio allows me to continue that work within the music industry and audio entertainment space. The Atlantic team are innovators in terms of shifting and shaping culture. I’m excited to join forces with them to discover new artists."

Her label reveal kicked off the introduction of Raedio’s flagship artist, Haitian-American singer-rapper TeaMarrr and her single, “Kinda Love.” At the Soul Train Awards this week, she introduced Teamarrr to the audience for a solid performance of the single.

Rae’s track record with spotlighting “female, independent” artists is pretty impressive. From featuring music by Saweetie to SZA to Houston’s own Peyton on her show and soundtracks, Issa has an ear for future sounds unlike anyone else in the biz right now.

With that in mind, VIBE imagines 10 indie acts that we’d love for Issa Rae to sign to her budding label and champion artistic evolution.

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Emmavie

If Issa is looking for new sounds in the “intense and sensual” department, then Emmavie is the right artist to turn to. Her rhythmic sensibilities enhance any room where lovers are looking to have a red light special moment. Much like her television counterpart, the Harrow, London original writes, arranges, and produces her own music with a mix befitting of Insecure’s vibe. Emmavie’s unique blend of electronic, R&B, and jazz on songs such as “Distraction” and “Can’t Get Over You” would play well over scenes where Molly is caught up between her would-be lovers, Niko and Dro.

Mylezia

Mylezia is considered by most underground R&B/soul lovers as the “King of the First State.” The Delaware Valley native has been recognized by her peers as a rising pop phenom with songs such as “Can’t Trust Your Smile” and “Party Of One” racking up thousands of views and streams online. Her independent success caught the attention of Meek Mill, which meant that the young sensation has not one but two cities riding for her. A nuanced performer with the radiance of a blockbuster supernova, Myleiza can be as powerful as any of today’s pop stars, while remaining down-to-earth like our favorite around-the-way-girls. Backed with an angelic voice and a long family history of singers, Issa Rae’s Raedio label would be betting on a sure winner with Mylezia.

Quiñ

Pasadena all the way down to the socks, singer-songwriter Bianca Leonor Quiñones has been a name that has rang bells around the indie LA R&B scene for some time. Better known as Quiñ (pronounced “Keen”), her song “Mushroom Chocolate” landed into lover’s Valentine’s Day-inspired date night playlists, thanks to her silky vocals and its guest star, Atlanta rapper-singer 6LACK. Her latest project, 7th Heaven, promises to up the ante with a true sense of after-hour musical adventurousness, which, judging by this, is right up Insecure’s lane.

Liza Colby

Oozing danger and sensuality are two traits that singer-songwriter Liza Colby holds in spades. As the frontwoman and lead for The Liza Colby Sound, her sexy-soul vocals are paired with gritty garage textures that make for a thumping, late-night romp. Like Insecure, Colby exerts a confident charisma that blows away the competition and attracts people who enjoy good music with a bit of a rough edge. For example “Cryin,” off the band’s Draw EP, is powerful and free, yet a bit reluctant and demure as well. It would make for a perfect pairing alongside franchise artist, TeaMarrr, whose “One Job” sounds similar in subject and tone.

Jamilah Barry

Jamilah Berry is a super-talented songstress with a strength in storytelling. Her replay-worthy 2018 EP, Salix Babylonica, placed her squarely alongside other UK R&B/soul artists such as NAO and Jorja Smith, thanks to her vocal skill and deft songwriting. Her ability to extricate emotion from inner conflict on songs like “Sunblock” and “More Than (>)” is a trait that Insecure fans have come to know and love from Issa Rae, making this Raedio connection one that would work greatly if it were to happen. With cosigns from Nile Rodgers and Roy Ayers, adding Jamilah Barry to Issa’s label roster is a soulful vibe worth clamoring for.

Yung Baby Tate

Even though 2020 is the year Yung Baby Tate will break out to the masses, Issa Rae has a chance to close by signing this ATL superstar talent. After gaining momentum in the streets with her #MegatronChallenge, bookended by her GIRLS and BOYS projects, Yung Baby Tate is setting her sights higher — and what better way to do so than be a part of Raedio? The versatile artist has explored the alternate identities of girls and women, making jams like “That Girl” and “Freaky Girl” standout amongst all the rest in the game. With Tate on board, Insecure could feature an artist who is thrilling when she’s just being herself on records.

BbyMutha

To call bbymutha “underground” is a misnomer. The Chattanooga MC, whose real name is Brittnee Moore, is a new type of role model. Her parental advisory raps advocate for women to keep fake dudes in the rearview mirror and their money ambitions in the front. Think if Tiffany DuBois was riding for working mothers everywhere set to songs like “Rules” and “Lil’ Bitch,” and you have bbymutha. Raedio could serve as a stable place for the self-proclaimed “work-from-home” mother of four and her upcoming album, Prosperity Gospel. If Issa Rae has cultivated a career where she’s been “rooting for everyone Black,” then signing bbymutha would enable her to move into her “Spooky Mutha Mansion” without begging the white man for a job.

Tiffany Gouche

Tiffany Gouche is no stranger to the music scene, having worked with or shared a stage with the likes of Masego (“Queen Ting”), Terrace Martin (“Never Enough”), Lalah Hathaway (Honestly, 2017) and more. An all-around musician, Tiffany earned everyone’s attention back in 2015 with her esteemed Pillow Talk EP. “Red Rum Melody” might be a bit dated for another sexy-sex scene between Issa and Daniel, but songs like “Dive” and “Down” could be playful and flirty songs that would turn Raedio from a boutique label into a powerhouse that creates a much-needed discussion through stirring melodies.

Joy Postell

Joy Postell is a rising soul singer from Baltimore who has already impressed music lovers with her debut album, Diaspora. Singing about self-love, self-acceptance, and self-awareness, Joy Postell packs a punch on every song she performs. Her mesmerizing vocals on “Make Believe” from Back and Forth (2019) and her advocate intonations on “Consciousness” reflect on what’s happening in her life and the world around her. Raedio’s stance as a label that empowers independent women would be emboldened with Joy Postell’s speaking-truth-to-power vibes on deck.

IAMDDB

Manchester hip-hop songstress IAMDDB is defined by her songs of women empowerment, representation, and self-acceptance—three tenets Raedio subscribes to. At only 22-years-old, Diana Debrito has, in the past few years, graduated from a local favorite into a Miss Lauryn Hill-cosigned, buzzed-about artist all throughout Britain. Her wildly popular songs like “Pause” and “Shade” mixes hip-hop, trap, and silky Afro-jazz, and has garnered over 20 million streams on Spotify. As one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” entries on its annual list, her independent status is ripe for Raedio to bring her talents to the U.S. as R&B’s next big thing.

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Paras Griffin

Soul Train Awards 2019: Watch All The Performances Here

The Soul Train Awards are always a must-watch event, with the show consistently giving roses to the veterans who built the music industry as we know it while showing love to younger, promising artists who carry on the traditions of their predecessors. Look below for the performances from Sunday's event.

SiR ft. D Smoke – "Hair Down," "John Redcorn"

SiR was the first major performance of the night. Outfitted in a blue flannel and accompanied by a team of dancers dressed as flight attendants, he performed his Kendrick Lamar-assisted single "Hair Down." There was then a brief moment that highlighted his older brother, Rhythm + Flow winner D. Smoke, at the piano, playing background as SiR performed another Chasing Summer highlight, "John Redcorn."

K. Michelle – "The Rain"

Songwriter/production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were honored for their achievements on Sunday night, and this continued with K. Michelle's performance of "The Rain." The song is a remake of the 1998 New Edition hit "Can You Stand The Rain," which was written by the duo. K. Michelle performed the record in a glowing all-white dress.

Tiana Major9 and EarthGang – "Collide"

Tiana Major9 and EarthGang recently released the music video for "Collide," their beautiful new song from the soundtrack for Lena Waithe's upcoming film Queen and Slim. They performed the song tonight, first with EarthGang member Wow Gr8 performing a spoken word poem written by Lena Waithe, then he and Tiana Major9 intimately sharing space in front of a colorful arrangement of flowers and car rims.

Wale ft. Jeremih and Kelly Price – "On Chill," "Sue Me"

Wale's sixth studio album Wow... That's Crazy was one of the best of 2019, and he got well-deserved recognition at the Soul Train Awards. He and Jeremih rocked his sultry hit "On Chill" before leaving the stage, and in an unexpected twist, he returned to the stage with Kelly Price for a performance of the album's intro "Sue Me."

Queen Naija – "Good Morning Text"

Queen Naija kept it real during her performance of her new single “Good Morning Text.” The singer-songwriter provided power vocals to the stage while looking great doing so. In a soft-off white number, Ms. Najia belted her ballad in style.

Boyz II Men and Stokley Williams – Medley

To kick off the first part of the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis tribute, Boyz II Men started with a performance of “Tender Love” (1985), the duo’s written and produced single for Force MDs. Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Wanya Morris then moved on to their 1994 hit “On Bended Knee.” But all the aunties weren’t ready for the next performance… After the first dose of nostalgia from the R&B trio, singer Stokley Williams took us even deeper into the 90s with a performance of Mint Condition’s “Pretty Brown Eyes” and a live performance of his 2019 single “She…” setting the tone for the live performances of the night.

Pink Sweat$ – "Honesty"

In one of the better, yet shorter performances of the night, newcomer Pink Sweat$ shared emotive, melodic harmonies from his single "Honesty"

Teamarrr –"Kinda Love"

Filmmaker, director and actor Issa Rae has ventured into music with a new label called Raedio, and at the Soul Train Awards she had an opportunity to present her first signee. Haitian-American singer Teamarrr has a unique voice, and she showcased her talent with a performance of her hit song "Kinda Love."

Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Carl Thomas, Keyshia Cole, Le'Andria Johnson, Anthony Hamilton – Soul Cypher

This year’s Soul Cypher was anointed with some of the most important voices in contemporary R&B. With Erykah Badu and Robert Glasper providing the instrumentals, Carl Thomas, Keyshia Cole, gospel vocalist Le'Andria Johnson and Anthony Hamilton sang passionately and confidently while noting their classic hits. Thomas reworked his jam "I Just Thought You Should Know" while Cole created a mini-universe using songs like "I Should've Cheated," "Last Night" and "Trust and Believe." Next was Sunday's Best winner Le'Andria Johnson, who called on all to rightfully "Call on Jesus" while Hamilton closed out the cypher with a twist on his classic, "Charlene." But before we said goodbye, Badu had to hit a few notes–including a pretty high one.

Yolanda Adams – Medley

Moments after being honored with the Lady of Soul Award for the way she's merged soul and gospel throughout her career, Yolanda Adams blessed the audience with what Kirk Franklin described as her "god-kissed voice." She first performed the uptempo "Victory," and continued into a medley of other songs like "Born This Day," the vulnerable "Open My Heart," "Be Blessed," and "The Battle Is The Lords" before closing her set with a stirring performance of "In The Midst Of It All."

Luke James ft. BJ The Chicago Kid, Ro James – "Go Girl"

Luke James provided ultra nostalgia for his performance of "go girl" with R&B bredrens Ro James and BJ The Chicago Kid. Each of the sultry singers arrived dressed to the nines in fits that paid homage the iconic fashion of the 90s. The track does the same with odes to Martin and more. “It’s a celebratory song that I created with two of my best buds in the business, Ro and BJ. ‘go girl’ is a feeling, an unconventional vibration about a specific woman," James previously told Billboard about the track. "It’s perfectly freeing... as if it came out of a ‘90s classic love song or film.” We totally agree.

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis tribute

If you call yourself a musician and don’t know Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ discography, you better start doing your research and watch these performances. After delivering a moving acceptence speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the songwriter and production duo hit the stage (with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds) to join acts like the Sounds of Blackness for “Optimistic” and The S.O.S. Band for their 1983 classics like the smooth “Just Be Good To Me” and the popularly covered, interpolated, and sampled “Tell Me If You Still Care.” Cherelle and Alexander O’Neal hit the stage for rendition of their 1985 single, “Saturday Love.”

But the real party went down when they reunited with their felliow bandmates of The Time. Morris Day brought the smooth swag in his silver suit and shades as they performed their Prince-produced jam “Jungle Love” (1984), with signature dance and mirror holdin’ hypeman (Jerome Benton) in tow. But what’s a performance by The Time without Morris Day doing the bird dance? Gotta have it every time. It never gets old.

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Courtesy of Starz

Who Shot Ghost? 9 Of The Wildest 'Power' Fan Theories

People cannot stop talking about Power's mid-season finale and for good reason. The closer left fans puzzled with the shooting of James "Ghost" St. Patrick with many suspects to highlight.

There's Saxe, Tommy, Tasha, Tate, Paz, Dre and Tariq shown heading towards or away from Truth nightclub. We know at least three of the five are strapped since we see Paz and Saxe grab guns (Tommy is never without one). With so many players at hand, it should be easy for fans to break down who shot Ghost before the series comes back in January 2020.

But this is 2019 and fandom has more layers than Ghost's waves. Theories have floated around social media with the show's creator Courtney Kemp giving us a few clues along the way.

The Starz show pulls from Shakespearean elements but Kemp says the final episodes are inspired by the 1951 film Rashomon. The film is known for popularizing the idea of showcasing one incident from the perspective of both the protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters. There's a death in Rashomon, but we don't see Ghost die per se, leaving more questions than answers for fans.

"We’ve always talked about how the show is really Shakespearean," Kempt tells Entertainment Weekly about Ghost's journey. As the mid-season winds down, Ghost is visited by the sins and loves of his past like Angela, daughter Raina, and frienemy Kanan.

"I draw from a lot of different classical references, and people aren’t usually aware of them because it looks different and it’s contemporary and, frankly, because it’s people of color," she adds. "People don’t see that it’s based on Shakespeare, but if you think about this season and how it’s been about fathers and sons, mothers and sons, and familial bonds, it’s been very influenced by Shakespeare. And this is very much influenced by Richard III. Richard kills a lot of people, and then they come and visit him as ghosts, so this is very similar."

The final five episodes are bound to reveal who killed Ghost and give closure to our favorite and not-so-favorite characters. While we wait for Power to return on January 5, check out the wildest theories behind who shot Ghost.

1. The Ramona Garrity Theories

Ramona Garrity, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, is one of the series' most refreshing new characters and one of mystery. With a Type A personality, Ramona is a fan of having her ducks in a row and her plans in order. Fans have a few reasons as to why she would be the one behind the gun.

She wasn't one of the characters walking up to Truth nightclub because she was already in the club. With this advantage, fans believe she shot Ghost after overhearing his conversation with Angela's sister Paz (Elizabeth Rodgriguez). James doesn't fit the vision she had of him for Lorette Walsh’s potential lieutenant governor, so he has to go, right? Or maybe she shot Ghost in order to boost his political image. This theory doesn't make much sense since Ramona and her team want to keep James' image squeaky clean for the campaign.

Then, there are these two theories. One being that Ramona shot James because she is the sister of Breeze, the first person Ghost killed during his drug-dealing career. Ramona has been rather quiet about her past (other than her ex-husband's cheating scandal), but she seems to know her way around the block. When she chats with Cassandra about keeping her affair with Tate on the low for an exchange for a congressional seat, she drops factoids about the inner city. She also keeps Tate's campaign on the right path with events focused on the people, which she gathered quite easily.

Lastly, there's a very unlikely theory that Ramona is Terry Silver's ex-wife. We don't see that as an option considering the very public nature of Ramona's sex tape with her ex-husband.

2. Tommy Did It To Avenge LaKeisha

We don't have to dig too deep into this one. While it's a possibility, it would be way too obvious for Tommy to kill Ghost at Truth. He's had plenty of opportunities to go in for the kill but hasn't. Is it because he's hip to who really killed LaKeisha?

When sharing his grief with Tariq and Tasha about LaKeisha, he seems to believe Tasha's grief about her longtime friend. But like Tariq, Tommy can read past the bullsh*t. Tommy might've been on the way to see Tasha after finding out who was after both him and Ghost at the warehouse.

3. Ghost Staged The Shooting Himself

Ghost is on top of the world in season six for many reasons. He's finally broken free of the drug life (with the killing of Jason) and can now move somewhat clean. We can't see his plan, but the idea of Tariq turning himself in for Raymond's murder has to be connected to a bigger puzzle piece. As far as we know, he's unaware of Sergeant Blanca Rodriguez's arrest warrant but his favor from 2-Bit does cause some skepticism. He could've asked 2-Bit to help stage the shooting in an effort to keep his enemies at bay.

If this theory holds up, it would take the attention off of his son and can buy him more time to figure out an alibi for Silver's murder.

4. Kanan Did It Because Ghosts Are Real

Leave it up to Bow Wow to conjure up a theory so outrageous. The actor-musician shared this theory on social media Sunday (Nov. 3) after the mid-season finale. According to him, the spirits who visit Ghost are actual spirits except for Kanan. He also believes Tariq had a hand in the deed since he helped Tommy kill Proctor (Jerry Ferrara).

 

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A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Nov 4, 2019 at 1:33pm PST

But this doesn't hold up–at all. The writers have proven Kanan's death several times throughout the season. There's his corpse in the season opener, Tariq taking Kanan's ashes and the feds confirming Kanan's death. It's a troupe used in many shows to remind us that our favorite characters are not coming back (Poussey in Orange Is The New Black, Wes on How to Get Away With Murder, Derek Shepard from Grey's Anatomy). It also showcases the influence of the character throughout the show. We see how much of an influence Kanan had on Tommy and Ghost and now, Tariq.

Which leads us to...

5. Tariq, Tariq Tariq

Everyone has ruled Tariq out because it doesn't appear that his character is near Truth. Don't let your eyes deceive you. Tariq seems to be leaving or entering part of the High Line bridge, a walkway that goes from Gansevoort and Washington Street up to 30th Street. If you aren't from New York, here's the translation: the walkway is just blocks away from Truth, the fictional nightclub located in the Meatpacking District. He still could be the person behind the trigger or at least apart of Ghost's plan to off himself.

6. Tasha's Boyfriend

Leave it up to a randos like Quentin to shake things up. Tasha's new beau cares immensely for her and seeing the bruises on her arm only invigorates his need to protect her. We don't know much about Q, but we do know he works in construction (and can afford Burberry shirts, aye). He also seems to be hip to the local drug game since his child's mother is battling addiction. Could Q also want to get Ghost back for supplying the neighborhood with drugs and violence? Ghost seems to look at Q with a heavy dose of intensity when he visits Tasha's daycare making the connection even more plausible.

7. Yasmine St. Patrick

Baby Yasmin❤❤❤ #PowerTV #Fambo❤ pic.twitter.com/fmPpZn6Rki

— Tasha St.Patrick (@RideOrDie247) December 14, 2017

Kemp has shared how she wants to keep Baby Yaz away from the violence on the show and she's done a good job at it. Once again, Yaz is mentioned in a heated argument between Tasha and her mother Estelle (played by Debbi Morgan) and once more when Ghost threatens to take away Yaz from Tasha. Maybe Baby Yaz is tired of the back and forth (and lack of screen time) and wants to show her Daddy she's not the one for games.

Maybe, maybe not.

8. Tasha's Mother

Estelle isn't a happy camper when she sees Tasha teaching her grandson Tariq how to move weight. She tells Tasha they need Jesus but also might take an initiative to get rid of the "Devil" in their life that is Ghost.

9. Kadeem, LaKeisha's Ex

Remember Kadeem? He's one of the characters in the Power universe that has been talked about often but never seen–until now. Played by Jesse Williams, Kadeem is given a face (and a crazy amount of tattoos) when Tommy drops Cash off after the death of LaKeisha.

Their exchange is brief but Kadeem tells Tommy to let him know if he ever has a hunch about who killed the mother of his child. Kadeem is about that life, considering his stint in jail and his slight resemblance in personality to Tommy. The two have that "crazy eyes" look and a love for gold chains. Maybe Kadeem was under the impression that Ghost killed LaKeisha and wanted to do the deed himself.

Williams shared with Entertainment Weekly small details behind his cameo and if he'll appear in other aspects of Power, including the much-talked-about spin-off series. "I just don’t know. We really are fans of each other, we’d love to figure out ways to work and she’s got really cool ideas for the spinoffs," he said about working with Kemp. "I’m open to doing cool, creative, different work that I haven’t done before. It’s certainly a possibility as far as I can tell."

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