It may be time for Anita Baker to drop the mic

Singer’s Mother’s Day concert in Atlanta canceled minutes before showtime.

Oh Anita, Anita.

I wanted to spend an evening with you — on Mother’s Day weekend — for old times’ sake.

So, I ate a snack, took my evening meds, stuffed my belongings in the required small handbag, and hopped in the car with my husband and grown daughters.

According to the posts on X, this was the concert we Aunties and Uncles didn’t know we needed. As one of your peers, I was down for the cause. Besides, who am I to turn down a Mother’s Day gift of front row seats to one of your concerts? I remember the soulful clarity of your voice when I saw you perform live in the ‘90s. I knew you’d be the consummate professional, albeit a seasoned one.

More than anything, I was excited for us to get together as a family, outside of a high school baseball game or a kid’s party at Chuck E. Cheese. Your music brings back memories of Saturday cleaning, playing cards with friends and cookouts. You have always been family to us. Truth be told, my daughters are more into your music than I am.

Imagine our surprise when you stood us up. It was rude and last minute, and you never even bothered to address why you were a no show. Thousands of fans had already parked and gathered outside State Farm Arena. We were on I-75 when my daughter Imani, who purchased the tickets, got an alert on her phone that the concert had been canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances.” The time was 7:01 p.m. The concert was scheduled for 7 p.m.

We were running late because we had a birthday party for my 12-year-old granddaughter that afternoon. Based on the social media posts we read, some fans had purchased plane tickets or traveled from other parts of Georgia to see you perform. As ticket holders expressed their outrage, I had one thought, “I hope Ms. Anita is OK.” As I went down the social media rabbit hole a bit further, I learned about other cancellations and late appearances. Some posters even compared you to the notoriously unreliable Lauryn Hill.

I still feel the need to give you grace.

Performing at age 66 can’t be easy. It may be time to drop the mic. I certainly wouldn’t hold it against you.

My daughter, Carmen, has a different view. She’s a rider. The next day, she said she’d still buy a ticket to one of your shows. She and Imani saw you last year, when you did your Valentine’s Day show. They were in awe at your vocals. ‘She’s still got it,’ they proclaimed.

Angela Tuck's daughters attended Anita Baker's 2023 Valentine's Day concert in Atlanta.

Credit: Contributed

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Credit: Contributed

As for our Saturday evening soiree, we ended up at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Windy Hill Road. There were a few other would-be concertgoers, including several mothers and daughters waiting in line with us. Some were a bit disappointed, but most were just happy to be outside.

That was us, Ms. Anita. So it was by no means a total loss. Be well, my senior citizen sister, be well.

P.S. Imani is patiently awaiting her refund.

Angela Tuck is a retired AJC writer and editor.