Rest In Peace: Donna Grady CreerPublished by Torrence Glenn on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm.
I’ve covered my share of deaths in my time as a writer/blogger but this one is particularly difficult. I’ve said a few things about it on social media but I’d be remiss not to honor Donna Grady Creer here on “The Gospel According To Torrence.” So let’s do this…
Donna Creer died on Wednesday, June 12 as a result of a reported early morning fire at her home in Little Rock, AR that is still being investigated. She was 57 years old. The tragic circumstances of her death have understandably made this a news story which is a tough pill for me to swallow. Who she was and what she represented to us goes so much further beyond an investigation and suspicious activity. She was a star to all who knew her and deserved to be in the news for all of those reasons. So allow me tell another story.
Whenever I do an interview or am asked about how I was able to achieve much of what I have in gospel media I tend to answer the same way; “I worked hard but I had the right friends .” Donna was one of those friends. This industry can be a LITTLE of A LOT of things. It can be a little mean. It can be a little competitive. It can be a little segregated. And, it can be a little intimidating. One would think gospel music isn’t like the rest of the entertainment business since they’re singing about and promoting Jesus. There’s got to be love there. That’s not always the case my friends. You can be talented, gifted, anointed… all of that. But with nobody in your corner believing in you, it can be a cold and unwelcoming place. Donna Creer from the start decided she’d be on my welcoming committee!
Donna was a legendary radio announcer and also served as President of the Arkansas Gospel Announcers Guild along with being the Second Vice Chair of the Gospel Announcers Guild (GAG) of the Gospel Music Workshop Of America (GMWA). When getting to know someone in that position, you never know what you’re going to get. Donna defied every stereotype that went with someone of her status. She was kind but still affectionately known as “the diva.” She treated almost everyone equally. I say “almost” because I’d like to think I was one of her favorites, but you know what she was just that sweet. She made all of us feel like we were her favorite. To know Donna was to love her. A true southern belle, she personified all all the “frilly” words one thinks of when describing one. Class? Check. Grace? Check. Elegant? Check again! Her wit was unmatched and so was her integrity.
Donna was privy to a side of the industry that the average person probably couldn’t handle. In the upper echelons of radio, if an artist or personality has a bad side, you’re gonna see it. But with all that she knew and was exposed to, you’d be hard pressed to find her saying a mean word to or about anyone. Even if she had to “get you together” she did it with such grace that you couldn’t even be mad.
Donna was generous. If you had questions, she had answers and she’d share them with you happily especially if she thought she could help you or help take gospel music further. She knew the power of her “co-sign” and gave it freely to me. I was a new kid on the block but she told me I was smart, talented and special and wanted to see me win. She gave me access and advice that she could have and should have rightfully charged for. Donna had a way of hitting you up not to gossip or be messy but shed light and offer clarity on some of the “touchy” subjects that as a blogger I had to deal with. She wanted you to have as much genuine understanding as possible with which to make decisions above all else. She was always aware of how our decisions as professionals in this industry could and would affect our industry. She’d check on me and reach out to encourage me unsolicited and unprompted often. She cared even when you didn’t.
I’m rambling I know, I’m actually doing it on purpose. You’d have to see one of me and Donna’s infamous email exchanges to fully understand. We were the random ramblers. We’d change subjects, make fun of ourselves, talk business and go right back to clowning without warning. It’s just who we were.
Our community has lost a giant and we’re going to feel this for a very long time. But that’s the beauty of knowing someone like Donna Creer. As much as not having her HERE hurts us, it feels good to know that having her THERE she’s not hurting.
I could talk about my Donna all day so I’m going to close with this. A few years ago during Season 2 of Sunday Best there was a contestant that I just wasn’t feeling all that much. Donna would call me, text me, email me trying to understand why I gave the guy such a hard time. She thought he was fantastic and did her best to convince me. And since I took so much heat for my comments about him from you all and her, I decided to ask her be a guest blogger. She was one of the first guest bloggers I ever had. Click here to read Donna Creer in her own words.
Donna we love you, will miss you and like I said on twitter. Rest in Peace but make sure you do that, REST!