Barack Obama’s tribute to Frankie Knuckles: The President pays his respects to the Godfather of House in emotive letter to family


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The Independent Online

Tributes to the late Godfather of House music, DJ Frankie Knuckles, flooded Twitter feeds the world over when news of his unexpected death at the age of 59 first hit on 31 April.

Most of them were from fellow musicians, paying homage to the producer, who is largely credited with developing the popular dance genre, which was named after the Chicagoan Warehouse club he was the resident DJ of in the 1980s.

But few expected just how high up the social chain the honours would stem from. And even less probably thought Barack Obama would be among those bestowing them.

The US President wrote to the family and friends of Knuckles to pay a personal tribute to his life and achievements.

The letter, originally posted on 17 April, was shared by Knuckles’ friend David Morales via his Facebook page yesterday.

Obama, who was a Senator in Illinois prior to his presidential election, wrote: “Frankie's work helped open minds and bring people together, blending genres to capture our attention and ignite our imaginations.

“He was a trailblazer in his field, and his legacy lives on in the city of Chicago and on dancefloors across the globe.”

It was signed by Michelle Obama and himself.


Originally born in the Bronx, Knuckles began his career DJing in New York alongside Larry Levan, before he relocated to become the premiere DJ at The Warehouse, where he played an important role in developing the popular genre well into the 80s.

Knuckles, who won a Grammy in 1998, had a street in Chicago named after him in 2004. In 2005, he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.