The Point

Queen of Soul with the face of change

Aretha Franklin's legacy lives on after death

By Johvan Merilus, Columnist

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Aretha Franklin was a woman who not only lived through her music but also reinvented the sound of soul and R&B. By many, she is an iconic figure in the world of music, but as well as an activist for civil rights. She used her voice not only for entertainment but also to give those unheard and resented a voice of importance.

Franklin is an individual who changed the world in so many ways as in music, race, and gender, all throughout a lifetime of success which influenced generations one after another. The name she holds will not only be remembered for musical and social accomplishments but also as representing diversity in skillsets and showing that whatever you aim to do it is in range of accomplishing.

Franklin was known mainly for the voice that could stop you in your very tracks. She began singing and touring at the age of 12 with her father and would perform in front of large groups of people. No one knew a sound from a human being could be so special until the day she took the stage and hit that first note.

Many years later, the majority of her music created hit records, climbing onto the charts, singles that debuted at number one and having her music span worldwide. Franklin was such an iconic figure because of her legendary voice. Her flexibility with her voice, coupled by her mastery in numerous genres or styles of music like soul, blues, jazz, pop, R&B and more, grew her legend even more. She was a pioneer for female artists.

The music Franklin made could peer into the soul by expressing love, heartbreak, happiness, and desire of a variety of things in life. The way she perceived music was a way to show sides of the human spirit. Throughout her career, Franklin won 18 Grammy award to go along with a total of 75 million albums sold worldwide and 17 top 10 hits on the Billboard Top 100.

With a reputation like that she could have easily been known as the queen of music. She went on to perform for a total of 60 years dominating the music industry while being an icon for future female musicians to aspire to. Franklin was the voice that gave music a new beat at the heart to live on.

Franklin was also known for her involvement in the civil rights movements taking place in the 1960’s. In the year of 1967, Franklin put out a song named “Respect,” which debuted at No. 1 on the charts. The song was created to speak of the race riots which was going on in south Detroit. At the same time as the riots, the Vietnam War was killing a great percentage of black men as well. “Respect” was a song to show that, as a community, colored people have the right to protest and be heard in a peaceful matter and should not be shunned away. This song gave many protesters courage when they were worried about being attacked and remembering the reason to keep fighting oppression and injustice.

“Respect” became Franklin’s signature song for it symbolizes the one thing many craved at that moment – equality above all. The world shall forever see Aretha Franklin as the Queen of Soul. Every ounce of respect she gained in her life was definitely earned.

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