Queen of Soul Has Passed Away

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By Gabby Cohen | gcohen2@radford.edu

Aug. 16, 2018 midday, the news shows up with the headline that the 76-year-old Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has passed away after a long going battle with pancreatic cancer.

Many were devastated and heartbroken. Franklin’s friends and fellow musicians have been sending their condolences to the beloved ‘Natural Woman’.

A week later, the funeral arrives at Franklin’s hometown Detroit for her to lay at rest. As one first arrives, the funeral would be shown with dozens of pink Cadillacs in the streets leading to the church where the funeral was being held.

During the funeral, there were multiple musical icons such as Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, and Ariana Grande. Formal Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were also there to show their respects for Franklin.

Franklin was known as one of the most iconic singers in soul, but she was also more than that. Franklin was a civil rights activist and took place in the movement with Martin Luther King Jr. After King’s death in 1968, Franklin was there to honor him and sing at his funeral.

Five decades later, musicians pay tribute to Franklin. Rev. Jesse Jackson was one of them. In the opening of his speech he stated, “If you leave here today and don’t register to vote, you dishonor Aretha.”

‘CBS This Morning’ interviewed Stevie Wonder about his reaction to her passing. Wonder said that “she touched every genre. Every singer was influenced in some way by the way she sang, and they will forever be influenced by her because of her voice, her emotion, her sincerity is unforgettable.”

Wonder was longtime friends with Franklin since childhood. They even talked about a collaboration just months before her passing. Wonder was the last performance to honor Franklin and it was worth the wait, as the last performance, he gave it his all classic Stevie Wonder vibe. He pulled out his harmonica to play an instrumental version of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.

Within the theme of famous faces, formal President Bill Clinton was a close friend of Franklin. Clinton was side-by-side with African-Americans for many years and supported Franklin in her career.

Former President Barack Obama wrote a speech to be spoken by Rev. Al Sharpton. Although he wasn’t at Franklin’s funeral, which sparked anger, he promised that he will be attending Sen. John McCain’s funeral in D.C., which he did.

People were also mad at other mishaps that happened on and off screen during Franklin’s funeral, but we are all here to reflect on the life of the Queen of Soul, as most people want to talk about.

Overall, Aretha Franklin will forever be a musical icon that will always inspire millions of singers. She will be remembered and may she rest in peace.

Photo Credit: (Atlantic Records)