When the legendary Frankie Knuckles passed away last month, there was an outpouring of both sympathy and admiration for the man who is credited with literally creating house music. Without Frankie’s drive and imagination, some of the best experiences of all of our lives would never have happened. This was evidenced by the respects paid by essentially every DJ on the planet after Knuckles left us, and the memorial session is far from over. If any doubt was left as to Knuckles’ immeasurable influence on our culture and world today, it would be eradicated by perhaps the highest honor one could posthumously receive: a letter from the President and First Lady of the United States themselves, commemorating his life and crediting him as the gargantuan cultural figure he is.
The Obamas offered sympathy and reflection on his greatness in their letter, no doubt born out of President Obama’s longstanding connection with the city of Chicago, where Knuckles left his mark most profoundly. Among other things, they wrote, “Frankie’s work helped open minds and bring people together, blending genres to capture our attention and ignite our imaginations.” This, in essence, captures the spirit of house music and of art as a whole – to illuminate, teach, unify, and inspire. Frankie Knuckles did all of those things and then some, and though words cannot describe what he meant to the city of Chicago, to music, and to the world, the Obamas made a great effort towards encapsulating the impact of Frankie’s all-too-short life. Read the full letter below: