Little Richard always wanted his due and he was right to demand it. A man — a black man — must lay claim to the glorious effects of his own peacocking attire, his peerless eyebrows and his magnificent pompadour, otherwise others will write his history and in all likelihood, they will get it wrong.

And so, this is not an argument highlighting the importance of rock-and-roll legend Richard Wayne Penniman’s flamboyant, gender-blurring, self-defining public style. It’s merely an acknowledgment of what he already made plain to the world: His style was profoundly influential. And it was quite something to see.

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