Friday, August 17, 2018


Today the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin, died. One of those rare people who are can be talked about using only one name, Aretha was loved by generations of fans. She will be missed, but she also left a huge legacy.

I thought about what to say, since I usually comment on the death of someone well known, but I don’t have any relevant personal stories. Also, I wasn’t exactly a fan, even though I liked a lot of her songs. When I was a kid, living in a middle class white Republican bubble, I even kind of disliked her because I perceived her as being a Democrat. I grew up and everything changed, and my appreciation for her grew, too. I learned what an important symbol and inspiration she had been for so many [Related: “In Franklin’s anthems, women heard an empowering message” By Jocelyn Noveck, AP]. That in itself matters a lot.

All of the people who loved her and her music would be far better than me in commenting on Aretha’s death. Like President Obama, for example, who said this on his Facebook Page:
America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, 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. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.

Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.
I’m sorry that Aretha has died, and even though we all knew it was imminent, it’s no less sad. But she left us with a huge legacy, so many great songs. That’s such a great thing, something we can return to anytime we want. That’s the thing about beloved performers. They may leave us bodily, but their work will always be with is, and because of that, so are they.

Farewell, Aretha. You earned that Respect.

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...