Queen of Civil Service: Aretha Franklin Was More Than an OD

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.

Monday Memoriam | David Bowie’s Charitable Legacy

 

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Nothing is worse than waking up to bad news. Unless it’s going to sleep with some. Today me and millions of others woke up to news David Bowie died of cancer. RIP David Bowie and condolences to his supermodel wife Iman.

Whether you’re familiar with his music or not (I’m a millenial, what’s your excuse?”) what’s indisputable is his authenticity and creativity to express himself through art. Without even singing a note David Bowie could capture our attention. Could it be the different color eyes? Or was it his chameleon-like personas? Blunt speak? Case in point, watch him call out MTV for their lack of diversity here.

Whatever je na sais quoi he possessed he carried it well. And shared it with those that needed it the most. David Bowie aka David Jones was a huge supporter of Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive org that advocates for children in Africa living with HIV/AIDs.

In 2006, Bowie performed at the Keep a Child Alive fundraiser. Alicia Keys wrote a touching message about David Bowie’s death on her Facebook page today.

Sending prayers and love to my beautiful friend IMAN and her family on this day!

Through all his alter ego’s, David Bowie was one singular thing – a true Artist. He graciously performed 3 songs at Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball in 2006 and I have never seen an audience so enraptured. Thank you for all the inspiration! Especially the message to all of us to be completely who you are!

“There’s a Starman waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our mind”. – Starman, David Bowie

It was par for the course, as the power couple committed time and money towards HIV/AIDS research. In the early ’90s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, David Bowie and Iman were repeat donors and performers to advocacy orgs like 7th on Sale fundraisers.

Replicating that same level of support to fellow London rock star Paul McCartney at his Concert for New York City in response to September 11th.

Record store Rough Trade announced they will donate all sales from David Bowie’s albums to cancer research in honor of the music legend. Even in his demise he’s helping others.

Check out his last hauntingly beautiful music video below.


Rock on in heaven DB!!