The world suffered a serious blow earlier this Thursday when the public representatives of the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, announced her death during the early hours of the morning. Franklin, who died at the age of 76, was reportedly battling advanced pancreatic cancer.
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds,” -Franklin’s family said in an official statement.
Since the announcement of the sad news, fans and admirers everywhere mourned the loss of a legendary woman who’s inspired several generations of singers and performers including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson just to name a few.
Numerous celebrities and public figures have since paid their respects to the 20-time Grammy award winner through the various platforms of social media, expressing their love and gratitude for Franklin’s music and stance on both the Feminist and Civil Rights movements.
- Written Tributes
Sir Elton with Aretha Franklin.
Sir Elton John, who had hosted the last event that the late singer had performed in, shared a long Instagram post and called Franklin’s death “a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church.”
“The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen”, he added.
The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. @arethasings #RIP #ArethaFranklin #QueenOfSoul @ejaf
Cher tweeted out, describing her voice as “Glorious, one of a kind” and “Will Be with Us Forever”
👑 Aretha…..Go Gently Into That Good Night.Your Glorious,One Of a Kind Voice Will Be With Us Forever🙏🏻.
You were Always Just Beyond Our Reach#SkyLark
— Cher (@cher) August 16, 2018
Sir Paul McCartney tweeted out as well, saying ” Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years.” The tweet also contained a 1968 photo taken by his late wife and former Wings bandmate, Linda McCartney.
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018
Adele, whose song ‘Rolling in the Deep’ was covered by Ms. Franklin in 2014, wrote “I can’t remember a day of my life without Aretha Franklin’s voice and music filling up my heart with so much joy and sadness”
“I say a BIG prayer for you. You will forever have all our RESPECT.” posted Mariah Carey in reference to Franklin’s famous song ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and the infamous women’s anthem ‘Respect’ (which was also a cover of Otis Redding’s original track).
Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers' singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You've inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church. Today the entire world mourns your home-going and celebrates all the brilliance you left behind. I will forever cherish the moments I spent in your presence. Your indelible impact was earned not only by your incomparable voice but by your bigger than life personality, wit and humor. I say a BIG prayer for you. You will forever have all our RESPECT. Love, Mariah ♥️
Former President Barak Obama has also shared a post across several of his social media commemorating the memory of the Memphis-born singer, who had sung at his 2009 inauguration Ceremony.
America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance. Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z in concert.
Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z had dedicated their Detroit concert to Aretha Franklin when news of her illness surfaced three days before her death. (Detroit was Franklin’s hometown and where she was raised after moving from Memphis)
- Musical Tributes
Rapper Nicki Minaj and singer Alicia Keys were the first to pay tribute to the gospel queen by covering ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ on the former’s show on Queen Radio.
“It’s no secret she’s an icon — an icon of all icons,” Minaj said. “I don’t know anyone who she hasn’t inspired. It seems strange to wake up and hear she passed, even though she lived a long and fulfilled life. But still, we’ve lost one of our icons. Someone we’ve all been inspired by.”
She also reflected on the importance of the song ‘Respect’ for her, calling it a “mini national anthem”.
“What I love about the song is not just saying ‘give me respect, it’s demanding respect. I like strong and iconic women. She was unapologetically the Queen”, finished the rapper.
Thursday Night, the ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ singer Ariana Grande delivered a powerful performance of the same song during The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon alongside The Roots.
“I met her a few times. We sang at the White House and she was so sweet, she was so cute,” Grande said of meeting Franklin for the first time. “It’s an honor to have met her.”
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ☁️ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ pic.twitter.com/J2Y1eEbSXo
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) August 16, 2018
Another unexpected tribute came from Liam Gallagher, the Oasis front-man, who told fans during Rize festival that Aretha had “the best voice in the universe”. ‘As You Were’ singer sang ‘Soul Queen’ in her honor as well as dedicating the Oasis hit ‘Live Forever’ to her. Gallagher had tweeted out “RIP Aretha Franklin what a voice x” as the news broke of her death on Thursday.
Behind Gallagher and his band is a picture of the queen.
The MTV Music Awards (VMAs) plan to honor Franklin with an official tribute that fits her legacy and long-lasting career.
The VMAs will air live Monday (Aug. 20), it will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Show executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic tells the Associated Press on Friday that his team is “working on a lot of different options.”
Franklin’s Hollywood Star of Fame showered with flowers, a crown and messages from fans.
He adds: “Whether it’s a performance or spoken — just something that’s organic and done in a way that feels tonally right because it’s Aretha Franklin.”
However, like FORBES Magazine’s Adrienne Gibbs writes: “We’re talking about memorializing a woman whose career spanned decades and genres; a woman who earned 44 Grammy nominations, 18 Grammy wins and millions and millions of spins. Who is qualified to even touch Franklin’s expansive catalog? And, frankly, should it even be touched at all?”
Perhaps Aretha Franklin’s legacy isn’t just her musical career or her role in political movements, but also her love, compassion and care for her family and friends. This is so obviously clear in her grand-daughter’s twitter post, that might just be the best tribute of all; simply Aretha and her piano.
Who do you think is capable of being the one to honor the queen of soul, whether in the VMAs or the Grammy Awards? What do you think of those who’ve already paid their tributes? Share your thoughts with us, we’d love to hear any stories of how Aretha might’ve inspired you.