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When I was young, I used to dream of going far, having my once in a life time chance to prove I was a star. A thousand times you stood in the wings dreaming it was me, I heard the people going wild, but it was just my fantasy. Life is a dance, maybe we’re all players, so stand up and smile and don’t be afraid.

Donna Summer, My Life

The world is remembering another great icon. On May 17, the world of music lost Donna Summer to cancer. Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, was an American singer and songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. She was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the U.S. Billboard chart. She was well known for her hits Last Dance, Bad Girls and She Works Hard for the Money.

Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on December 31, 1948 in Boston, MA to Andrew and Mary Gaines. She was the third of seven children, one boy and seven girls. In 1968 she left home to join the German production of “Hair,” and by 1974 Summer had first European hit with The Hostage. Just one year later, she released her first American hit, Love to Love You Baby. Not only did Summer create music that people of all ethnic backgrounds and ages, but she inspired others to succeed within the music industry and to think outside of the box.

“Donna Summer made music that moved me both emotionally and physically to get up and dance. You could always hear the deep passion in her voice. She was so much more than the queen of disco she became known for; she was an honest and gifted singer with flawless vocal talent. I’ve always been a huge fan and was honored to sample one of her songs. She touched many generations and will be so sadly missed. My love goes out to her family during this difficult time. Love, B,” Beyonce Knowles, R&B Songstress and Actress, said.

“I may be an 80′s baby, but I loved the disco era. Donna Summer and Diana Ross were the inspiration for my 70′s scene in Pretty Girl Rock video!” Keri Hilson, R & B songstress, stated on her Twitter account.

“Donna Summer has inspired me in so many ways,” Beyoncé’s younger sister, Solange Knowles, who is known for her throwback style in music and fashion, said.

The majority of people in the music industry usually have several other talents that they also pursue, and Summer was one of those who had other creative talents. She was an accomplished painter. Her works sell for thousands of dollars. She was also a playwright and author, and was in the process of writing an anticipated Broadway musical called, Ordinary Girl,  which is based on her life story. Summer’s autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey is currently in bookstores.

Summer not only made her mark in music, but she also made her mark within the community. Over the years, Summer has contributed her time and money to various organizations. The organizations that she gave back to included the The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Youth with a Mission (helps children with AIDS), Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang (helps terminally ill children), Music Cares (AIDS research), AMPHAR-AIDS, The Neil Bogart Memorial Fund for Cancer and AIDS, VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and a countless of other organizations and foundations.’

Summer is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano; daughters Mimi Summer, Brooklyn and Amanda Grace Sudano; and granddaughters Vienna Lynna Adrianna Dobler and Savannah Grace Dobler.

“We lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith. While we are grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can’t express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time,” the Sudano family.

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Naomi K. Bonman is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she holds her Bachelors of Arts in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She also holds her Masters of Public Administration. She is the Founder and CEO of Awakened Media Enterprises, Inc. which owns Purposely Awakened. She has been in the media field since 2006 covering beats that range from social justice, community, entertainment, sports, fashion/beauty, and culture news.

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