Aug. 13, 2018
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin is said to be nearing the end of this world's journey and taking the final flight to heavens above. I cannot fathom where our black communities would have been had not Aretha Franklin graced us with God-given talents. Aretha Franklin was the daughter of a great missionary of God, C.L. Franklin, who stood up to the powers of racism never once failing to back down. He demanded that the downtown forces of white institutional racism respect the manhood and womanhood of those blacks in his flock. Of course, Reverend Franklin's flock included the blacks residing in the entire city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the entire nation.
It's no wonder that the revelation he and his wife Barbara produced, Aretha, became a powerful voice in the call for justice during the civil rights movement. No, Aretha wasn't tasked to make speeches demanding justice. That was not the talent God had given her to assist a nation of black people to rise up against the forces of bigotry and hatred. The talent that God her gave her was an angelic powerful voice that rose above the elements of white hatred, rose above the oppressive living conditions faced by our ancestors, rose above the lost dreams and hopes of so many black people in America. It was a voice that reached across the racial aisles and touched those white people willing to have just a little understanding of a nation of black people's plight.
She took a song that was written and first sung by Otis Redding, RESPECT, and created a masterpiece. The song was all about a black peoples movement upward in America. Show me a little respect was personalized in the song about a relationship between a man and woman but in reality, the connection was Black America telling White America for just some respect. Aretha always sang the lyrics of her songs with incredible emotional passion, an element of passion that moved her audience. It didn't matter if that audience was in the auditorium listening live or in their living rooms listening to her records, or on the streets listening to her music on the radio stations.
When the SCLC was struggling for funds, Dr Martin Luther King would put a call to Aretha for assistance. King asked and Aretha always answered with an affirmative "YES" and she would be on a stage somewhere promoting the cause of civil rights. Just like Mahalia Jackson's voice was distinctive and immediately recognizable. So was the voice of Aretha Franklin and both of these bold black sisters were embedded in the fight for our peoples' rights to gain social and civil equality. Aretha Franklin never backed down to calls that her activism was threatening her earning power. Because inside Aretha Franklin was a desire to see her Black America rise up and be respected. I am sending my prayers today to Aretha Franklin knowing full well that whatever the results. The ultimate Queen of Soul has done well for the time she has been on the planet. I know that the hands that lead her over these troubling waters will provide comfort and grace today and forever. She is and will always be "the most natural of womanhood".
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