This week just as many of us decided to say a little prayer for one of our greats, we got the sad news that there was to be a long goodbye. Aretha Franklin was a dynamo; she had those real powerhouse vocals and a regal presence about her.
What she represented for many of us familiar with her music, is the strength of a real black woman; not that every woman doesn’t possess strength, but those of us in the black community who know what it is like to be a black woman in a white society can relate to what I’m saying.
There are many reasons that Aretha Franklin will be immortalized in our hearts but here are 6 of the best reasons why…
She showed us how to take our talent and turn it into the key that unlocks opportunities for us to be honored in the presence of Kings. This she did when at the age of 14 she started her career. She let us know that it is ok to regroup, reinvent ourselves and press on after our dreams.
After having very little success singing gospel, she returned to the stage at 19 yrs as a secular artiste. She showed us that a little commitment, patience, and investment in ourselves can make all the difference when she taught herself to play the piano. She was big on giving without asking for anything in return. She served her community through philanthropic activities and sought no praise for it. She even has a strong legacy in the civil rights movement.
One of the most notable things to me was that even though she was such a great artist, Aretha wore a cloak of humility so you couldn’t help but be pulled in by her.
Fellow entertainer Gladys Knight said that even though she had such a tremendous gift, she was shy and didn’t seem to realize how good she was at times. She didn’t let the fame go to her head. Did you know that to this day an asteroid named after her is still in orbit? Talk about reaching for the stars!
She had a survivor’s spirit; surviving domestic abuse in her first marriage yet picked up the pieces, learned to love again and came back stronger than before. She didn’t crumble and fade into the shadows. She didn’t wallow in self-pity and she didn’t need anyone else’s pity.
Even through the shyness, one could spot her sense of humor in her interviews as she turned questions about her weight into a light moment. But as much as she could enjoy a little chuckle about herself she was eloquent enough to call bull when she saw it.
She wasn’t here for that body shaming and throwing shade business. A certain gossip columnist learned this all too well when she thought Aretha was easy prey. Don’t believe me? Well see for yourself:
Talk about getting served! That was the day she learned not to come for Aretha if Aretha doesn’t send for you. Queen Aretha was comfortable in her own skin. She didn’t allow the views of others to dictate how she saw herself and she carried herself like royalty.
Aretha’s voice caressed the notes of her songs and riled up the right emotion when you needed a boost. If you never knew how to assert yourself, by the time you got through listening to “Respect” chances are you would have the right momentum to lay out your demands.
She hit her notes effortlessly and the potency of her lyrics can stir something deep in your soul. Her music holds a staying quality that it is hard to find in the music we get today.
She was a fashionista. Her fur coats, hats, extravagant gowns were everything! She didn’t mind if people thought she was over the top. Throughout her career spanning 6 decades, she has done her fair share of being iconic in the hair game. Be it pixie cut, beehive, bowl cut, bob, and my favorite, a magnificent soul-sista afro she knocked them all out of the ballpark.
Here are just a few pics of the evolution of Aretha’s hairstyles through the years:
Farewell Beloved Aretha
Now she sleeps and will be missed. We send love and light to her family and friends. Though she is no longer with us physically, we are glad that she left behind a timeless gift, a treasure in her music and through this she will live on. Rest in Power Queen of Soul.