by Stephanie Cortes
Aretha Franklin passed away Thursday at a hospice, surrounded by loved ones, due to pancreatic cancer. The “Queen of Soul” leaves us at the age of 76. When the silence of her passing broke to the public, legions of Americans praised the departed singer with words honoring her life. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, decided on a different tactic when commenting on Franklin’s passing. He started off on the right foot saying, “I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well,” until, as usual, he slipped on the facts: “She worked for me on numerous occasions”. In 1988, Franklin went to Atlantic City and performed at Trump’s Castle which had opened just 3 years before. Franklin’s appearances at his properties, hardly amount to employment. Three decades later, Trump’s Castle ceases to exist. “I find it disturbing, sad, and a reflection of his endless narcissism”, said David Ritz who’s spent years with Franklin in hopes to understand her shielded life for his biography on her in 2014. “A glimpse of the divine,” were the words President Barack Obama used to describe Franklin. She performed at Obama’s inauguration in 2009 which moved him to tears. Even if Franklin had worked for Trump, how is that relevant on the day of her passing?
Franklin first started singing Gospel in her father’s church. In 1967, “Respect” became the song she was known for, it reached the top of the charts. Many of her songs made her a civil rights activist when performing at Martin Luther King rallies, and in 1987 she performed at his funeral. That same year she became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She also won three Grammys in the new millennium, with the last one being in 2008. Franklin’s rise was all her own. Her strong voice of praise, worship, and this beautiful passion is what will remain. Her voice lives on. She will always have our undying respect for the incredible woman she was.
- Stephanie Cortes