In Memoriam: Aretha Franklin

The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online), November 2018 | Go to article overview

In Memoriam: Aretha Franklin


Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), affectionately called "the Queen of Soul" was a singer, songwriter, pianist, and supporter of the Civil Rights movement. Her signature song was her version of Otis Redding's "Respect," released in 1967. Her many hit songs included "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women A "Freeway of Love A and "Rock Steady" She had more than 100 singles in the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits. She received 18 competitive Grammy Awards, along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994.

Ms. Franklin (Aretha) was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987, its second year. She sang at the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, at pre-inauguration concerts for Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Bill Clinton in 1993, and at both the Democratic National Convention and at the funeral the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Ms. Franklin received honorary degrees from Harvard University and New York University in 2014, as well as honorary doctorates in music from Princeton University (2012); Yale University (2010); Brown University (2009); the University of Pennsylvania (2007); Berklee College of Music (2006); the New England Conservatory of Music (1997); and the University of Michigan (1987). …

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