rest in power aretha franklin

August 16, 2018
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“The moment I wake up

Before I put on my makeup

I say a little prayer for you”

Aretha Franklin “I Say A Little Prayer”

Aretha Louise Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul, has died at 76. Ms. Franklin was an American treasure whose voice, lyrics and music changed the cultural and sonic landscape forever. Raised in New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father was the preacher, Franklin’s voice was filled with gospel emotion, optimism and reflection. There was a power to her voice that spoke directly to your soul — especially when she played the organ while singing. When Franklin moved into secular music, she became a true revolutionary. Her music was still soulful but filled with audacious and commanding lyrics refusing to be marginalized or erased by systemic racism, social injustice or white supremacy. As a Black woman, she was going to be seen and heard.

Classics like “Respect,” “Ain’t No Way,” and “Think” were decidedly feminist and filled with both Black power and Black love. As an activist, she knew how to motivate the masses and soothe brokenness and breaches. When America was in crisis during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, it was Franklin who helped shaped the soundtrack to resistance and liberation. When she sang the “America” at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, it was the perfect voice, mood and feeling to celebrate a historic moment that this nation never dreamt possible — a Black man becoming the leader of the Free World.

Aretha Franklin was a force to be reckoned with — and her music will remain that way. There will never be another Aretha Franklin, but her voice, music and legacy will live on to inspire and empower us in the challenging times of today and the Black Future of tomorrow. Rest in Power Queen!