Put Some Respect on Her Name: Aretha Franklin

By: Demi Browder

The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin was born on March 15, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. She grew up with a father who was a Baptist minister, and a mother who died of a heart attack when she was younger who played the piano. She started her career as a gospel singer and over the years transformed into soul. It was in 1967 she was officially titled the “Queen of Soul,” due to her natural vocal ability and stage presence. She was able to fuse multiple genres together like, jazz, R&B, gospel, disco, and of course soul to make herself stand out. She made hit after hit like, “Respect,” “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, and many, many more. Aretha Franklin didn’t always have it sunshine and rainbows just like most female artists in that time. She struggled with drinking and health problems, a bad marriage, and just everyday tests that we all endure. But, she never let that stop her be the force she will forever be remembered as. Before her passing Ms. Franklin received many honors such as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2020 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Aretha Franklin was also nominated 44 times for a Grammy Award and died with 18 wins under her belt. 

Her Impact in the Industry and the World

Aretha Franklin was not only known for her amazing talents but also her impact on the world. She was involved in advocating for women’s and civil rights, supporting the access to nutritional food, and regularly playing at charity events to boost donations. Ms. Franklin was active in her community by continuously giving back. Her fans supported her, so she supported them right back. When it came to the industry Aretha Franklin paved the way, and broke many glass ceilings for the female artists today to have the platform and opportunities they have. The genre of Soul and many others made it easy for artists like, Aretha Franklin to shine because that is what women like her do. No matter what stands in our way we fight till seen and I couldn’t tribute this importance to anyone else, but the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. 


Wolk, Douglas. “Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Dead at 76.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 4 Oct. 2019, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/aretha-franklin-queen-of-soul-dead-at-76-119453/.


“Aretha Franklin.” GRAMMY.com, 23 Nov. 2020, www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/aretha-franklin/11503.


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