When Aretha was here, she did her thing. She will always be considered the Queen of Soul. CBS News did an interview her on June 5, 2012 in which Anthony Mason asked her some questions about her health.
She said she was excited and that she was ready to do her thing. That was something that the Godfather of Soul would say and later sing. As she was making a comeback at a New York benefit concert show.
Rolling Stone Magazine named her the Greatest Singer of the Rock Era. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was awarded the Grammy Legend Award in 1991, The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, she was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, a National Medal of Art recipient in 1999 and awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. But to most of us she will be remembered as the Queen of Soul.
She was born in Memphis Tennessee but considered Detroit Michigan her home. She began her singer career at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father, C.L. Franklin, was the minister. Aretha’s mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, died before she turned ten. Her grandmother Rachel raised her and her siblings with a little help from people like Mahalia Jackson. Aretha young life was surrounded by music and musicians and she learned to play piano by ear.
Her father reached celebrity status and many gospel folks would stop by the house: Clara Ward, James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, Inez Andrews, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, Martin gave her the SCLC Drum Beat Award for Musicians a few months before his death. And at the young age of 16, she sang at his funeral.
The two-day viewing of Aretha’s casket will be at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which happens to be a stones throw from where my mother’s senior tower was. My mom was born in Mississippi and she also settled in Detroit. Mom was an independent country girl who lived down the street. Glad I able to convinced her to come with me to the Museum with me on one of my visits to the city.
On my Face Book page is a photo of the Charles H. Wright Museum. The guy in the foreground is my man James. He got drafted in the Army and was sent to Vietnam. I enlisted in the Air Force and was sent to Germany after a quick stop in Libya.
Aretha has sung for the king (Martin Luther King Jr.) the Queen of England and the President of the United States. Now she gets to add her voice with the King of Pop, the Godfather of Soul and Prince.
President Obama said, “American history wells up, when Aretha sings. Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African American spiritual, the Blues, R&B, Rock and Roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope.” Farewell to the Queen.