Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Us All

Debate will — and should — rage forever regarding royalty and who can claim it: who is The King? Elvis Presley is who white people crowned, Chuck Berry who wise people worship. Michael Jackson was the self-proclaimed King of Pop; James Brown the undisputed Godfather of Soul. Otis Redding is Otis Redding. The Beatles (more men…) are nobility most everyone will acknowledge, and honor. Rock, pop, and soul are genres filled with palace intrigue and pretenders to the throne.

But there is and always has been One Queen. Aretha. Blessed with THE voice, the beauty, the talent, the soul. Also a fighter for whom little came easily, and a female who had to swim — and survive — in the crowded waters of a male-dominated industry (not to mention world). Nobody who knows anything has ever denied she is the queen, the one against whom all others must be measured.

Much has, and will, be written about how Aretha transitioned from gospel to secular. She never, in fact, left the church: she simply made the entire world her congregation.

She will endure as Exhibit A (filed under Art *and* Aretha), proof positive that, for all our foibles, when humankind is its best, we are amazing creatures, capable of the miracles prayers are made from.

All Hail The Queen.

Executive Director, 1455, @1455LitArts. Avoiding quiet desperation by any means necessary

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