The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin 1942-2018

Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it, and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption, and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. “
| Barack Obama

Empowering Women and African Americans at a Pivotal Time

In 1967, the civil rights movement was in full swing and the second-wave of American feminism was becoming mainstream. Millions of Americans were crying out to be seen as equals and the song told them to be fearless in their demands. They weren’t just worthy of respect, but it was long overdue.

Upworthy

Rolling Stone magazine named Aretha Franklin “The Greatest Singer of All Time” (male or female). With “Respect,” she took a song written by a man (Otis Redding), shifted the gender, and became a one-woman anthem, sowing seeds of dignity and confidence with every note.

“She had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans and women and anyone else who felt marginalized because of what they looked like, who they loved,” Barack Obama said in 2014, “they wanted respect.”

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