by Susan Fried
Until a few hours ago I didn’t know anyone personally that had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and then I looked on Facebook. I found out my friend and one of Seattle’s foremost singers, Josephine Howell had been diagnosed with the virus.
I met Josephine over 20 years ago when I was photographing the Columbia City Beatwalk, she was performing in a beauty salon and they had put the speakers outside so people on the street could hear her sing. Enticed by her voice, people actually left other venues and came over to the salon.
I think at that moment I decided that I would hire her to perform at my 50th birthday party and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve photographed her literally hundreds of times since we first met and have never missed a chance to hear her sing.
I had already booked her for my 60th birthday party, planned for May 30.
Josephine is an irreplaceable part of the community. She has sung the Black National Anthem at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. event at Garfield dozens of times.
Whenever people in Seattle need someone to sing and bring joy to an event, Josephine is often the first person that pops into their heads.
Just for purely selfish reasons, whenever I am able to have that 60th birthday party, I want Josephine to perform more than ever.
So, Josephine, stay strong and get well soon.
Featured image: Seattle singer Josephine Howell sings with Jackson Mississippi Blues guitarist, singer and producer Dexter Allen at the Big Blues Blowout April 22 at Café con Leche.