Aretha Franklin was our Queen of Soul and the indisputable Original Diva(OD).
She used her four octave voice to not only make us ugly cry (I dare you not to do the same with her rendition of Precious Lord during MLK’s funeral) but remind the world we matter. Black lives matter. Long before a grassroots movement formed.
She was a key supporter of the Civil Rights movement by lending that powerhouse voice to SCLC events, like the org’s 10 year anniversary convention–Aretha Franklin sang for two hours.
So long the headline speaker (Sidney Poitier) didn’t go on until early the next morning.
Now if that’s not rallying for the message…
Aretha Franklin may not have been on the front lines of civil rights marches, but helped raise $250,000 for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and SCLC to go on tour spreading their nonviolent message.
Aretha Franklin sang from her soul and quietly poured her heart into causes and people that uplift African American community, like political activist Angela Davis.
When Davis was locked up and charged with murder in the ’70s, Aretha Franklin vowed to bail her out.
“I’m going to see her free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism, but because she’s a black woman and she wants freedom for black people. I have the money; I got it from black people–they’ve made me financially able to have it–and I want to use it in ways that will help our people.” Aretha Franklin said at the time.
“As soon as the campaign for bail was created, Aretha came forward and said if bail was set she would pay whatever amount was needed, whether $100,000 or $200,000–which was a lot of money at the time, Davis told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Davis was denied bail at the time, but never forgot Aretha Franklin’s commitment to helping her and thanked her publicly for years.
More recently, Aretha Franklin donated money and hotel rooms to her fellow Michigan natives affected by Flint water crises in 2016.
” She used her voice to deliver music for social justice,’ Rev Jesse Jackson told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “She was a fighter who used her art as a platform.”
The voice may have been silenced today, but her spirit and legacy will always get R E S P E C T.