Rest In Power: 5 Ways Aretha Franklin Paved The Way For Generations Of Women In Music


August 16, 2018

On Thursday, the world lost one of the greatest singers of all time, Ms. Aretha Franklin. Affectionately known as the Queen of the Soul, Franklin’s voice was simply unmatched. It transcended age, culture, genre and time. To celebrate the incredible legacy that she left behind, here are 5 ways that Aretha Franklin paved the way for generations of women in music.   

1. She Was A Trailblazer

Photo credit: Michael Ochs/Getty Images 


In 1987, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She went on to earn 18 Grammy awards, which include taking home Best Female R&B Performance for eight consecutive years. 

2.  She Was Determined To Learn Her Craft 

Photo credit: David Redfern/Getty Images. 


Although she didn’t know how to read music, Franklin taught herself how to play the piano and began singing solos in church at the age of 10. By 14, she released her first album, a gospel collection called “Songs of Faith”. 

3. She Used Her Platform To Fight For Civil Rights and Social Justice 

Photo credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post


Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis said in a statement on Thursday: 

“What made her talent so great was her capacity to live what she sang. Her music was deepened by her connection to the struggles and the triumphs of the African American experience growing up in her father’s church, the community of Detroit, and her awareness of the turmoil of the South. She had a lifelong, unwavering commitment to civil rights and was one of the strongest supporters of the movement.”  

4. She Was Fearless And Could Sing On The Spot 


In 1998, Franklin stepped in for her friend and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti at the last minute and performed “Nessun Dorma” at the Grammys after Pavarotti had fell ill. It remains one of her most notable performances. See for yourself above. 

5. She Turned “Respect” Into One of The Most Powerful Female Anthems of All Time


When Franklin re-recorded Otis Redding’s “Respect” on Valentine’s Day in 1967, she added the now legendary bridge and call and response. With her powerful voice, she transformed it into a timeless women’s empowerment anthem. 

Rest in Power to the Queen of Soul, who will always have our R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 


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