The Queen of Soul and Legend, Aretha Franklin died on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the age of 76 years old. Ms. Aretha Franklin, who is an American icon, was surrounded by her family and loved ones while placed in hospice care at her home in Detroit, Michigan fighting against cancer of the pancreas. According to CNN’s Don Lemon, “the Queen of Soul [had] been gravely ill a long time with cancer and has kept her health very private.”
Let’s take a soulful journey back to the beginning of the “Undisputed Reigning Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin’s life. Franklin’s career covers over six decades of soulful music. Like most black singers in the 60’s, Aretha began her singing career at her father’s “New Bethel Baptist Church” which was located in Detroit, Michigan. Ms. Franklin’s love of music lead her to singing solo at her father’s church and other events.
At the age of fourteen, Ms. Franklin recorded her very first album called “The Gospel Sound of Aretha Franklin.” While touring with her father and singing solo at various church events, Ms. Franklin was approached by a record executive who was mesmerized by her soulful voice and signed her to Columbia Records. In 1966, Ms. Franklin decided to move to another record label that would allow her to be more creative, and she signed with Atlantic Records. In l968, Ms. Franklin created soulful hits after hits with songs such as “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and the list goes on. Later that year Ms. Franklin would sing at the memorial service of her dear friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With tears in her eyes, Ms. Franklin performed one of the most powerful and soulful rendition of
“Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” After the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., Ms. Franklin vowed to become more involved in civil rights activities and marches for equality.
Ms. Franklin was the first woman to receive induction into the prestigious, even before the Beatles were inducted. In 1994, she became the youngest to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. Ms. Franklin has been awarded over 18 Grammys. She has performed at three Presidential Inaugurations for Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential “Medal of Freedom.”
In 2017, the City of Detroit honored Ms. Franklin by naming a street after her. Recently, Ms. Franklin cancelled her tour engagements due to her health.
Aretha Franklin has paved the way for so many of today’s artists. Her hit single “Respect” is considered a national anthem for women all over the world. The world mourns the passing of a legend. Ms. Aretha Franklin has now moved over to the land of paradise-singing and praising her way past the pearly gates and is now resting in a peaceful place. “Ms. Aretha Franklin you will forever and always be our “Undisputed Queen of Soul.”
Legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin celebrated with special tribute from Syleena Johnson, Angela Winbush and Paris Bennett at 3rd Annual Black Music Honors
The 2018 Black Music Honors recognized the legacy of Aretha Franklin during the award show taping on Thursday, August 16. Hosted by 2017 Marconi Award Winner Rickey Smiley and singer/actress LeToya Luckett, the annual two-hour television special honors artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music. This year’s honorees were Bobby Brown, Faith Evans, Bebe & Cece Winans, Whodini, Stephanie Mills and Dallas Austin.
The night included performances by Bell Biv Devoe, Next, Jade Novah, Kierra Sheard, Tasha Page-Lockhart, V. Bozeman, Demetria McKinney, DJ Mell Starr, Sammie, Donnie McClurkin, Sammie, Yo-Yo, Koryn Hawthorne, Rhyon Brown, Raheem DeVaughn, Regina Belle, Paris Bennett, Syleena Johnson, Angela Winbush, Jonathan McReynolds, Monie Love, Ruben Studdard and Doug E. Fresh. Additional VIP’s in attendance included Shiggy, Kyla Jade, Stevie J and more.
Proceeds from the 2018 Black Music Honors will benefit the 2019 opening of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville. NMAAM’s mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack. Event sponsors include AT&T, McDonald’s, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Chevrolet and State Farm as title sponsor.
The annual two-hour television special taping will broadcast in national syndication from Sept. 8-30, 2018 and will air on Bounce TV on Sept. 28, 2018.