The Great Aretha Franklin

Photo Credits: Sandy Gibson and 

Photo Credits: Sandy Gibson and 


This story is about Aretha Franklin and her special times in life. Did you ever wonder why Aretha Franklin was called “Queen of Soul?” Do you think Aretha’s weigh was a problem to her singing?  Why did she want to connect to the civil rights movement? Well guess what?  I have the answer to these questions so read on and find out.

The first special time in her life was whenshe got discovered in church. Her mother helped her sing in the choir and her father was the preacher of the church, she also practiced to become a pianist. By the age of six years old she could sing in front of large groups of people. By the age of fourteen she was recording gospel songs.

The second special time in her life was that she had two children, and then she returned to performing. She signed a contract with Columbia records. I interviewed a publicist who worked with Aretha and she said that Columbia Records paid Aretha a lot of money, but, “she did not discover her real self, and she did not sound like the Aretha we know.”  Shemoved to Atlantic Recording Company in 1967. There she made the greatest hit records in her career.

Third special thing was she had won eight consecutive Grammy Awards for R&B Female Vocal Performance and she earned the title the ”Queen of Soul.”

Fourth was that in 1994 she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards.

Fifth was that she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and became the second woman ever to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Sixth special thing was when she received her 18th Grammy Award for collaboration with Mary J Blidge. She sang at the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Recently I saw that she was interviewed on the Wendy Williams show, she discussed how she lost weight at the age of 70. One question that Wendy asked was why did she want to lose weight? Well the reasons was that she was looking through her pictures and asked herself why was she so big and then later she started to complain about her back . Then she started to pay attention to her health and then she learned how to eat right and she started to lose weight.

Aretha’s connection to civil rights movement is that she wanted to be a part of the movement to support the black culture and to have people and her fans to remember her by what she did in life other than weight loss and her singing career.

My favorite songs are Ain't No Way and RESPECT.

Photo collage by Iyanna Kelly, a 6th grader at Chamberlain Elementary