Shortly after news spread that Little Richard passed away on Saturday, May 9, at the age of 87, he was called an architect of rock ’n’ roll and someone who influenced some of the world’s biggest musicians. On Saturday, Ava DuVernay described him as generous, because he used to tip her a hefty amount when she was a waitress many years ago.
The “Cherish the Day” creator said the money was of great assistance to her then, and that he always tipped her the same amount.
“I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA. I was a college student,” wrote DuVernay on Saturday. “He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul.”
DuVernay eventually exchanged her server’s tray for a full-time career in the TV and movie business, then went on to direct acclaimed films like “Selma,” which she nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for.
But despite being a successful director and attending various industry events, DuVernay never came face to face with Richard since her days at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch. It’s something that she revealed to a Twitter user when asked.
“That is amazing!” someone wrote about her Richard story. “Did you have an opportunity to connect with him after you became a filmmaker?”
“No. I never saw him again,” DuVernay answered.
Dick Alen, Richard’s agent of more than four decades, told People the singer passed away from bone cancer, which he’d been struggling against for many years. Richard was living with his brother in Nashville, Tennessee, when he died.
“I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago,” said Alen. “I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say, ‘I’m not well.’ He’s been suffering for many years with various aches and pains. He just wouldn’t talk about it much.”
Richard spawned a number of hits during his career, like “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Lucille,” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.” He reportedly sold over 30 million records since his start in the music business.