Arrested Development's Speech Addresses Death Rumors

Arrested Development's Speech Addresses Death Rumors

Published Sun, January 29, 2023 at 12:00 AM EST

Arrested Development frontman Speech Thomas was on the receiving end of a vicious rumor earlier this week. In fact, it’s so egregious, he felt the need to address it on social media.

On Thursday (January 26), Speech shared an Instagram post containing a screenshot from a woman named Aerle Taree. It read: “Speech died of cancer two days ago along with his wife.” 

Speech wrote in the caption: “This is a VERY HARD POST 4 me. For decades a former & dear Arrested Development member w/ bi-polar disorder launched lies, scandal & physical attacks against me. I've gotten a RESTRAINING ORDER against her. Talks & reasoning failed. Now it's abt prayer & informing the public. I wish her nothing but healing & peace P.S. - I am Alive & well.” 

Speaking to ROCK THE BELLS, Speech explained the origins of his relationship with Taree and how her mental health has been on a steady decline over the last 30 years. It’s been a tough journey for Speech to witness, especially since Taree was such an integral part of Arrested Development, contributing to the group’s Grammy Award-winning single, “Tennessee.”

“This is been an extremely emotional, anxiety ridden journey,” he says. “Aerle Taree and I were close friends in the ‘80s and early ‘90s—like relatives. I remember her as an extremely intelligent, passionate, conscious and talented woman who I'd often lean on for support and rely on for inspiration. Aerle designed clothes for the group, represented curvy, Black excellence and helped with iconic vocals on big Arrested Development songs. She came up with the lines about ‘a game of horseshoes’ [from ‘Tennessee’], among other things.

Speech and other members of Arrested Development eventually lost touch with Taree, but her behavior grew increasingly concerning. This is evidently just the latest.

“Unfortunately, despite all attempts to the contrary, her actions became more and more toxic; to where, for decades, her and I stopped communicating,” he continues. “The post that I put on social media where she claims that my wife and I died, it's just a very small example of a dear friend and former member that has been displaying hurtful, deceptive and sometimes violent behaviors.

While Taree’s original Facebook post about Speech and his wife has been deleted, her page is full of random photos of Speech, old Arrested Development videos and statuses such as, “Speech is on the land” and simply, “Arrested Development.”

Black Thought, Speech and Yasiin Bey Rock NJPAC

Nov 21, 2022

Malcolm X/Arrested Development

Arrested Development On "Revolution" at 30

Nov 18, 2022

Arrested Development appear at a press conference held at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture for Director Spike Lee's film "Malcolm X" Soundtrack pn October 23, 1992 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives)

The Uniquely Alternative Legacy of Arrested Development

Mar 24, 2022

Not much is known about Taree’s private life, other than she writes books from her homebase in Atlanta, including PoeTaree: The Jurisprudence of Life and Humanities Matters: The Essay Collection. According to her website, she was considered for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts NEA Fellowship in 2019 and 2020. She’s also working on her second bachelor's degree at Georgia State University and says she works for the University’s Signal newspaper as the Perimeter Bureau Chief.

Despite Taree’s harmful post, Speech wants nothing but the best for her. He adds, “Because of her public displays about me and my family, I needed to make the public aware of what's the root issue. She desperately needs prayer and continued help.”

What's new