Loss of a Soulful Singer


Kav Lakshmi, Online Editor

March 25, 1942 to Aug. 16, 2018 is a time period that will go down in history as the reign of the Queen of Soul, otherwise known as Aretha Franklin.

A musical and cultural icon with a career that lasted six decades, Franklin is well-known for her powerful and gospel-style vocals around the world. She worked with Clive Davis, the Chief Creative Officer for Sony Music Entertainment, for the majority of her career — twenty-three years.

Her latest release, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, included music from previous female artists that she added her own unique twist to. Franklin was truly joyful about the prospect of creating new music and was well-rewarded for her efforts in her remarkable legacy.

Franklin was the first woman inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and the second woman to be inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. She won 18 Grammy Awards in her lifetime, including the Grammy Legend Award in 1991 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She received the National Medal of Arts in 1999 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award later presented to well-known celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Hanks, in 2005.

Outside of her work as an artist, she was heavily involved in the civil rights movement and women’s rights. Her songs Respect, a call to the power of women, and Natural Woman, an unapologetic expression of sexuality, are examples of her advocacy. These songs are still recognized as anthems by these minority groups she fought so heavily for.

Furthermore, she performed at benefits and protests, donated money to these causes and spoke publicly against the jailing of Angela Davis, a black woman activist. Her activism is also reflected in her performance at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. and her last public performance at an Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala.

Franklin died at 76 in her home in Detroit due to pancreatic cancer, and news of her passing has not gone unnoticed; public figures such as Barack Obama and Sam Moore took to social media to share their sorrow.

Aretha Franklin is a name that will be remembered for decades to come as her impact on our society today is monumental.