RIP Aretha Franklin 1942-2018

Aretha Louise Franklin, born March 25, 1942, died at her home on August 16, 2018, at the age of  76 years, reportedly from complications of pancreatic cancer. She was a legend and the indisputable Queen of Soul.

A mother, a wife, an activist, a pianist and a great singer, she was born in Memphis, Tennessee to a Baptist minister father and a pianist and vocalist mother.

In 1970, Aretha Franklin offered to post bail for Angela Davis, a social activist. She said:

Black people will be free. I’ve been locked up (for disturbing the peace in Detroit) and I know you got to disturb the peace when you can’t get no peace.

Jail is hell to be in. I’m going to see her free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism but because she’s a black woman and she wants freedom for black people.

I have the money. I got it from black people – they’ve made me financially able to have it – and I want to use it in ways that will help our people.

The best way to remember this great woman is to listen to her music that will live on forever.

As a child growing up in Harlem, her songs were my inspiration.

Aretha Franklin – Respect [1967] (Original Version) [VGA 480p]

Aretha Franklin – Think [1968] (Original Version) [VGA 480p]

Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman [1967] [VGA 480p]

Aretha Franklin – Tribute to Whitney Houston [HD 720p]

Aretha Franklin 1942-2018
Source of image: Pinterest

Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

20 thoughts on “RIP Aretha Franklin 1942-2018

    1. Someone else paid Angela Davis’ bail though. In those days, it was not easy for black artists since blatant racism was the American way. Many were financially and sexually exploited especially by ‘New Yorkers’ who made their wealth off the backs of black entertainers.

      I love her quotes. Wish most black celebrities felt as Aretha Franklin, maybe Sandra Bland would be alive today (Remember, she went to jail and died because she couldn’t pay a $250 bail.) and we wouldn’t have so many black people in jail and prison because they couldn’t afford bail.

      1. I figured as such, and I just referred to Aretha talking about possibly doing so. That reality is certainly true and one can argue that it still goes on (albeit in a different form) whenever Black entertainers and celebrities dare to confront racism. Having the exploitation done by ‘New Yorkers’ doesn’t surprise me at all especially in comparison and contrast to the South. Then again, Malcolm X said that if you’re south of Canada, you’re still in the south if one is Black.

        I agree with that assessment. Have you also noticed that so many Black celebrities will cape for other groups whenever something bad happens or not. Just look at the Keaton Jones fiasco late last year. You had Snoop Dogg and some athletes wanting to give free stuff to him until they found out how bigoted his whole family was. However, there was radio silence for that one Black girl who committed suicide close to the same time as that video.

        1. It’s sad! Both sides play with our minds. On the other side, “liberals” the ones who claim to be allies critique our every breathe and telling us what to say or not say. Some may even call us racist when we point out hypocrisies that are important to their agenda. They want you to assimilate and do their bidding.

          They don’t want us to get our act together or work together. When working together, we are heavily surveilled and called racists for wanting to increase awareness in our culture. They condemn us as having a “us vs. them” mentality. Before including people like that remember Malcolm X coffee metaphor.

          Oh, I better not say “them” or be accused of spreading filthy racism. Be aware of the head games they play and do not doubt yourself.

          1. Exactly! The liberal aspect is way more subtle than the conservative one. Some of them on TV (especially MSDNC…I mean MSNBC) know how to say the right words and even look “progressive”, but they’re also silent when it comes to so many pressing issues. Besides, a good portion of donors to TV and politicians are quite bipartisan when it comes to throwing out money if they get something in return.

            Yes, and that has frustrated me so much. One person said I needed to “stop looking for hatred” when I brought up historical facts, my experiences being discriminated against, and for DARING to say a certain Disney movie had racist undertones (I’m not making this up and it did make sense in context of the conversation) even though I wasn’t calling that person a racist. It’s like calling out racism makes that person racist, which makes absolutely no sense.

            The coffee metaphor is good and I want to add another Malcolm X metaphor which is the story of the wolf and the fox which is perfect given the liberal/conservative fallacy on race relations. Malcolm said that the fox (liberal/democrat) hunts it’s prey by pretending to be their friend before it’s time to eat. The thing with the wolf (conservative/republican) is that it’s more obvious in seeing the danger whenever they have to hunt.

            That’s true and I’ve been doing my best not to fall into those head games. Thank you for the encouragement.

        2. After practicing for 20+ years, going back to school was enlightening. I got a glimpse into how “black” politicians are selected. It’s not by black people, we don’t have the resources to make it happen. Our black politicians are mostly hand-picked based on assimilation. This explains why they have made little improvement in our lives. They are great speakers and know how to get our votes but they don’t answer to us. Their policies are set by their white sponsors then sold to our communities by them. It’s important communities of color understand that. Even the ones we see in the Democratic party running for office really make sure they are competent and able to advocate for communities of color, otherwise they are just another mouthpiece and a token.

          1. I’ve really been noticing that about Black politicians and celebrities. They’re handpicked for whatever reasons. That experience is also like how a closet racist says “I have Black friends/family/etc.” What a strawman. Saying that someone has Black friends, family, employees, or what have you and can’t be racist is like saying the porn industry can’t be sexist or misogynistic because they hire women (credit to Tim Black for that analogy). It’s as if the politicians become proxies and crash dummies for whoever handpicks them. Yesterday, I read some articles from Ajamu Baraka (Jill Stein’s former VP candidate) and anyone with a brain can tell he’s not bought or handpicked. He straight up calls Obama an Uncle Tom and sees the flaws in both neoliberal and neoconservative policy domestically and worldwide.

            1. Re: ” That experience is also like how a closet racist says “I have Black friends/family/etc.” What a strawman. Saying that someone has Black friends, family, employees, or what have you and can’t be racist……..”

              And how is that with…….. >>>> August 8, 2018 at 8:17 am, Angela Grant says:
              “BTW, for the record, I am not anti-Semitic. Some of the dearest friends are Jews.” <<<<?

            2. Let me clarify one thing that I forgot to mention. I talked about how racists get caught in their bigotry and use that as an excuse as they deny their own racism. I’ve seen it happen to me whenever I’ve called out racists and I’ve found situations of people using that same verbiage.

              With that being said, that’s a false equivalency in using that quote compared to what I said. For starters, there are Jews of multiple ethnic groups and not just those of European descent. You have Mizrahim (Middle-Eastern groups), Maghrebim (North African), Bene Israel (Indians), Beta Israel (Ethiopians), Latin-American Jews, Krymchaks (Turkic people), and several other ethnic groups involved. Also, the term Semite is rooted in Afroasiatic languages and people. This isn’t just limited to Hebrew or Judaism. This can also apply to Arabs, Assyrians, Copts, and even African groups (Eritreans, Ethiopians, and Somalians for example).

              Angela’s quote compared to what I said is apples and oranges.

            3. Lame attempt to wriggle yourself out of a hot….well…..lemme say a lukewarm situation, dude.

              Re your lecture about Jews and the term Semite: So what does Angela’s “BTW, for the record, I am not anti-Semitic. Some of the dearest friends are Jews.” mean in that light?

              Apples and oranges are both fruits. Or not?

            4. Thanks, Angela.

              I’m really glad you got my points and know what I’m talking about. I know what you said was a completely different situation compared to my comment about how people deny, deflect, and/or downplay when they’re caught saying/doing racist things. Besides, the Afroasiatic fact about Semite people strengthens your point since it still ties to Black people in Africa which would prove you aren’t Anti-Semitic.

            5. Definitely. I know other POCs online and real life know about those situations.

              Thank you! Interestingly enough, I saw a video on basic Amharic phrases (the national language of Ethiopia), and the word for hello and peace is actually “Selam”. Yes, it’s the same root word where “Shalom” (Hebrew) and “Salaam” (Arabic) come from. I never would’ve thought there would be a connection to those languages or ethnic groups before. Recently, Phil from The Advise Show went to Ethiopia to document the Ashenda festival and talked about how awesome it was being in that country, so I looked up some stuff about it. The Ethiopians told him “Welcome Home” when he met a bunch of the locals since they don’t see many African-Americans visiting their land.

              Now, back to Aretha Franklin since that’s what your article was about in the first place. I listened to a couple of her songs yesterday “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” and “I Knew You’d Be Waiting for Me” with George Michael. The latter hit me with the realization that both singers passed away which made the song more bittersweet in hindsight.

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