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The Bizarre Story of the Imitation Queen of Soul

The Bizarre Story of the Imitation Queen of Soul

By Karl Smallwood

Her spot on imitation of Franklin was witnessed by a fellow performer that night, 24 year old Lavell Hardy. An irate Jones told Hardy that she’d do no such thing… The problem was she was now stuck in Florida without money to get home. These owners were understandably unconvinced that the very young Hardy represented THE Aretha Franklin, with some going so far to laugh in his face. At the end of her performance, Jones quietly thanked the crowd and was given a standing ovation. We were thoroughly convinced that ‘Vickie’ was forced into being Aretha Franklin… I wanted to protect this girl.