As a child, my mom always played Aretha Franklin songs. She loved soul, and acknowledged that Franklin was the queen. She said that “there’s nothing that dancing around to Aretha Franklin can’t make better.” Last year, I did a dance class to “Think.” I had never felt more powerful. Her confidence and talent made me feel like I owned the world when I moved to the song. I could see that my classmates felt the same way when I watched them perform the song in groups at the end of the class. To me, Aretha
Franklin’s music served as the confidence boost I so often needed. Her music pushed me to dance through emotions and anger that I had pent up inside of me. The songs she sang served as an outlet for me: they empowered me through movement.
On August 16 the music world lost one of its enduring icons. Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” died at the age of 76 in Detroit. Franklin had been battling advance pancreatic cancer for several years. He family has announced that a funeral will be held on August 31 for. (Billboard)
Franklin achieved icon status with songs like her cover of “Respect” that still remain popular today. Her music won the critics’ praise as well, earning her 18 Grammys. Others mentioned her impact on the many social rights movements that occurred in the 1960s. Songs like “Think” became feminist anthems, and Franklin was outspoken on civil rights. Stars like Ariana Grande and Paul McCartney posted that Franklin’s music had an enormous impact on them, and although Franklin began her popular music career in the 1960s, she remained active throughout the 2000s. She performed at the White House and with modern musical icons like Justin Timberlake. Franklin even performed at the inauguration of former president Barack Obama. After her performance, Obama spoke about how important her music was to the social movements that allowed him to become president. As the world mourns the loss of the “Queen of Soul,” everyone from pop singers to presidents have shared what Franklin’s music meant for them.
Franklin represented the soundtrack to both civil rights journeys and childhoods. She affected many different lives in many different ways. The tributes from the past few days demonstrate that her music touched everyone in big or small ways. Although Aretha Franklin is gone, her music continues to live in all of us.
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records