Aretha Franklin’s Legacy Lives On Through History

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Aretha Franklin’s Legacy Lives On Through History

Elias Robles

Music legend Aretha Franklin passed away August 18th, leaving her legacy behind. Known as “The Queen of Soul”, Franklin’s impact on the music industry is one that will stand for years.

Aretha Franklin was born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. Franklin’s father, Clarence La Vaughan “C. L.” Franklin was a national renowned Baptist preacher due to his work at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. Franklin got her musical talents from her mother, Gospel singer Barbara Siggers Franklin. Regarded as a special prodigy, Franklin was mostly self-taught, building on her piano and vocal skills which were showcased with her performances in her father’s congregation.

At age 14, Franklin released her first album “Songs of Faith”. She also performed with her father’s traveling revival show, The C.L. Franklin Gospel Caravan. On the road, she became the mother to her first of four sons, Clarence Franklin. Franklin later had 3 more sons; Ted White Jr., Kecalf Cunningham, and Edward Franklin.

Franklin later landed pop and R&B charts in 1960 with her album “Aretha”, produced under Columbia Records, being signed by top talent scout, John Hammond who saw Franklin as a potential jazz star. Although successful on the charts, Franklin was not showcasing her talents and strengths, resulting her to move record labels to Atlantic in 1966 with husband and manager Ted White. “Her music was very unique and had a lot of power and heart,” said Junior Noah Hernandez, an Aretha Franklin fan.

Franklin’s work has held a major impact on not only her time, but the modern music industry as well. Hernandez said, “A lot of people don’t know who she is but she should be recognized for her musical talents. A lot of modern musicians have learned from her music.”

Not only did Franklin play a big part in the music industry but also in the civil rights movement, being a symbol of black empowerment. She helped pay for many civil rights tours and campaigns. In her contract, she added that she would never perform for a segregated audience. Her music served and still serves as the sound of the civil rights and black empowerment. ”Music spoke for her and the civil rights movement and what she believed. It spoke for the ability to pursue the American dream in the music world,” said Junior Ariana Robles, a fan of Aretha Franklin’s work.

Franklin passed away on August 16, 2018 due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type at her home in Detroit, Michigan.

Aretha Franklin’s mark on the world can be seen all over the American music industry and American history. “She should be recognized more. Her music was the light at the end of the tunnel during a dark time for African Americans. She had passion. Her passion inspired many,” said Robles.

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