By: Anh Bui

On August 16, 2018, the singer, songwriter, actress, and pianist Aretha Franklin passed away at her home in Detroit. Known as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.

Born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, TN, Aretha was and still is a musical icon. She is best known for her songs, such as “Respect”, and “A Natural Woman.” Her father was a baptist minister so she got her start as gospel singer in front of her father’s church. She later became a leading voice of the civil rights movement, and at the age of 16, went on a tour with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Both her parents were gospel singers. She recorded her first album when she was only 14 years old. She has been awarded with 18 Grammy’s and has been nominated 44 times.

Not only was Aretha an amazing singer, but she was also an activist. She used her songs to talk about women’s rights and advocate for the black community. Her song “Respect” was originally written by a man that wrote about how women should treat men in return for what the men gave them. Aretha later changed the song to be about how everyone should be treated with respect, no matter their gender or race.

Aretha had four kids: Teddy, Kecalf, Clearance, and Edward. She was also married twice. Her first marriage was with Glenn Turman from 1978 to 1984. Her second marriage was with Ted White from 1961 to 1969. Aretha and Ted didn’t have any children together. Her funeral was on August 31 in Detroit. Many attended, including: Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder, and Bill Clinton.

Aretha’s death has brought great sadness to all. She will be remembered as a musical icon. Her amazing voice and activism will be missed, but her legacy will live on forever.