Yesterday we lost a beautiful soul, Aretha Franklin. Not only was she the Queen of Soul, but she was also a civil rights activist.
Aretha started singing in church in front of her father’s congregation. By 14, she recorded an album named, Songs of Faith.
In 1960, Aretha traveled to New York from Michigan and signed to Columbia Records. The following year she put out hits such as, “Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody.” Within that first year of being signed, she already had songs topping on the charts!
In 1967, Aretha’s cover of “Respect” reached #1 on both the R&B and pop charts and won her two Grammy Awards. “Respect” was one of the songs that earned her the title Queen of Soul, while also making her a symbol of black empowerment during the Civil Rights Movement.
By 2008, Aretha received her 18th Grammy Award for “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” which made her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history. She also had the honor to sing at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. Significantly, she didn’t sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” instead she sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” On that historic day, she reminded everyone of who they were and who they were capable of becoming. She reminded people that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to.
Aretha’s voice was so powerful and truthful and inspired an abundance of people, including myself. Her music contributed greatly to larger political and social movements, and more specifically got everyone through their hard times. Thank you, Aretha, for teaching us to always demand respect for ourselves.
She is a girl with beauty and brains! May she rest in peace.