R-E-S-P-E-C-T……., when you hear that word, who do you automatically think of? The one and only Aretha Franklin! Born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha Louise Franklin became the daughter of Barbara Siggers and Clarence LaVaughn Franklin. Her dad was a preacher and her mom was a singer in their church. Having this background, Ms. Aretha had no choice but to become influenced by gospel music.

She grew up surrounded by civil rights activism which quickly became something young Aretha was interested in. As she grew older, Ms. Aretha used that spark to further ignite the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For example, she financially assisted Dr. King as he toured the nation speaking for the rights of African-Americans.

Ms. Aretha won many awards in her lifetime. She won 18 Grammy Awards with three special Grammys being; the Legend Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the MusiCares Person of the Year. These are just a few of the various awards Ms. Aretha received in her lifetime. Not only did she get recognized by the music industry, she was also known worldwide for her contributions. On one occasion, she sang at the inauguration for the first African-American president, Barack Obama! In addition, she performed for the Queen of England at the monarch’s 50th Jubilee. Because of her many successes, she became the first African-American female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

With over 45 million records sold, Aretha Franklin became one of the most RESPECTED African-American female artists worldwide. Aretha Louise Franklin died on August 16, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan from pancreatic cancer. She had such the impact on not only the music industry, but the world we live in today. Aretha’s legacy will always carry on and she will forever be known as the Queen of Soul.