By Olivia Dudley
On August 16, 2018, the beloved ‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin, passed away in her Detroit home at the age of 76 surrounded by friends and family. It had been reported three days prior that she was in grave condition due to an advanced form of pancreatic cancer.
Her life will forever be remembered by not only her talent and greatest hits, such as “Natural Woman,” “Respect,” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” but for her strength and kindness. Her music reflected her life as a strong and independent woman, encouraging others to follow in her footsteps and demand the respect of being treated like a human being.
“When Aretha Franklin sang ‘Respect’… it was a demand for equality and freedom and a harbinger of feminism, carried by a voice that would accept nothing less.” A powerful statement made by chief popular music critic, Jon Pareles of The New York Times. Her music evoked thought and encouraged people to look at the world and think of hope and possibility.
Mary J. Blige stated several years ago, “When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing.” She couldn’t be closer to the truth; women have longed to follow in the powerful footsteps of Franklin for decades, looking up to both her vocals and her entire being. She will be missed, remembered, and cherished by many.