Aretha: The Pioneer

Sep 10, 2018

Of course Aretha ‎Franklin deserves the title "Queen of Soul." She was the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She won numerous Grammys. She topped the charts spanning multiple generations. But these well-deserved honors understate her depth as an artist, and they fail to recognize the political and social importance of her career.

Fi‎rst, her artistry. On several occasions she performed opera to standing ovations. Opera singers generally cannot cross over to pop music, but this great artist crossed over beautifully in the opposite direction.

Now let us pay proper tribute to Aretha Franklin, the political and social pioneer. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. She performed at three Presidential inaugurations. She converted the song "Respect," written by a man for men, into the anthem of the Women's Movement. That song and several other of her songs became marching songs for the Civil Rights Movement.

When Martin Luther King's efforts needed funding she would hold concerts, which raised large amounts of much-needed money for the cause.‎ She personally supported a number of families who might not otherwise have weathered the Flint, Michigan water crisis. She remained throughout her life a generous philanthropist through her church in Detroit. Not bad for that shy seven-year-old who was hesitant to sing hymns in public in her father's church. Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin.

I'm Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.