Maya Rudolph included a subtle tribute to her mother, singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton in this weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live. Rudolph hosted the sketch show this week, and as usual, posed for glamorous photos to transition in and out of commercial breaks. One of them was a recreation of the album cover for her mother's Adventures in Paradise.
Rudolph wore an old-fashioned, ornate white dress and a crown of white flowers in the fan-favorite photo. She sat in a reddish-colored velvet armchair, with another flower drooping from her left hand and her right hand extended out. In the original album cover, Riperton was petting a lion on her right side, though apparently there wasn't time to arrange that for Rudolph's photoshoot. Still, fans shared the photos side by side and celebrated the subtle tribute.
She does it again 😭🤧🥺 pic.twitter.com/TRQ2eaNvYo— whembley (@whembleysewell) March 28, 2021
"Minnie probably somewhere smiling down because she knows her daughter's a whole ICON! I stan," one fan commented. Another wrote: "I just know if Miss Riperton was still with us she would be proud of everything her daughter has accomplished."
This isn't the first time Rudolph has used her SNL bumper photos to honor her mom. In 2012, she recreated the album cover to Riperton's Perfect Angel — which showed her wearing denim overalls and holding a melting ice cream cone. Rudolph's only compromise there was wearing a bra under the overalls.
Rudolph's mother was an acclaimed vocalist with a five-octave coloratura soprana range, and a songwriter, as well. She was born on the South Side of Chicago in 1947 and studied music and dance at the Lincoln Center. She made her way up in the music industry singing back-up vocals for such legends as Etta James, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. At the same time, she built a career with her girl group, The Gems, and then as a solo artist.
(the 2012 bumper is equally 😭🤧🥺) pic.twitter.com/H2z67bt9be— whembley (@whembleysewell) March 28, 2021
Riperton released six studio albums in her time, and her best-known song today is "Lovin' You." Sadly, she suffered from cancer at a young age, beginning as undiagnosed breast cancer which spread to her lymphatic system. She passed away in 1979 at the age of 31.
Riperton is still a hero to many, and an icon for lost potential. Her talents and struggles were laid out in a 2009 episode of Unsung, including interviews with Rudolph and her family. The show is available to stream on via TV One or on Philo TV.