Reminiscing about Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

Reminiscing about Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

The gospel-rooted soul singer, Aretha Franklin has been pronounced dead on Thursday in a statement by her longtime publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn on behalf of her family. The singer died at the age of 76 in her home in Detroit at 9:50 am after years of battling pancreatic cancer.

Franklin’s death has triggered lots of emotions and a flow of tributes from fans, friends, loved ones and leaders. She was regarded as ‘the Queen of Soul’ for her fervour and her expansive career that started in 1954 in her father’s church.

Aretha began recording gospel music at the age of 14 and in 1960, the talent scout, John Hammond signed her to Columbia Records and six years after, she moved to Atlantic Records where she recorded a number of hits. Aretha Franklin was the first woman to be admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with 88 Billboard chart. During the peak of her career, she won 18 Grammy awards and was the best female R&B performer for eight years.

Apart from a successful music career, Aretha Franklin also played an essential role in America’s Civil Rights Movement using her music to advocate for gender and racial equality. Her most famous song, Respect is an anthem for political and gender movement. She performed several times to support Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement and in 1970, Franklin offered to post bail when activist and scholar, Angela Davis was accused of aiding a courtroom takeover that ended in four deaths.

Aretha Franklin will forever be remembered for her music, racial and gender advocacy. She is mourned by fans and friends who witnessed her role in the Civil Rights Movement.

We have created a playlist for you in the memory of Aretha Franklin.

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Wale Owoade is a writer, music journalist and pop culture critic. His works have been published in African American Review, Transition, Guernica, Bettering American Poetry, Poet Lore, Duende, The Brooklyn Review, and The Collagist. He received the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations and was shortlisted for the 2017 Brittle Paper Literary Awards. In 2016, Owoade won a scholarship from Research and World History Institute (Tokyo) and was invited to attend the 2017 Callaloo Writers Workshop at Oxford University. His works have been translated into Bengali, German and Spanish. He currently writes on music and pop culture for The Afrovibe, Pan-African Music magazine and Omenka magazine.

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