A Year After Aretha Franklin’s Death, The Queen Of Soul Remains Larger Than Life!

DetroitFreePress.com, By Brian McCollum, Posted August 16th 2019

One year after Aretha Franklin’s death, her legacy is very much alive – in her hometown and beyond.

Franklin’s passing on Aug. 16, 2018, cast the world’s spotlight onto Detroit, where a three-day visitation drew thousands of mourners and a nine-hour funeral welcomed a host of dignitaries and high-profile entertainers.

But the Queen of Soul’s death wasn’t the end of her time in the public eye – far from it. Since last summer, she’s been celebrated with major awards, site dedications, prime-time television tributes and deluxe music reissues.

Here’s a glance at some of what’s happened in the 12 months since Aretha Franklin’s death:

• She was awardeda rare special citation by the Pulitzer Prize boardin April. Just 43 people have been honored through the decades with that distinction – and Franklin became the first woman in that exclusive group.

“Like people and institutions throughout America, since her death, we’ve been reflecting on her life and work and contribution to American music and society, and it was in that spirit we were really honored to be able to do this,” Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy told the Detroit Free Press, a part of the USA TODAY Network.

• She was celebrated with a starry, two-hour Grammy tribute show that aired on CBS in March, featuring performances by Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys and others. 

Weeks earlier, the Grammy Awards show itself had closed with a blockbuster rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Fantasia, Yolanda Adams and Andra Day.

Franklin was also remembered with a 13-minute tribute set during October’s American Music Awards, featuring Gladys Knight, CeCe Winans and others.

“Amazing Grace” at last hit theaters. The long-delayed gospel film, created from footage shot in 1972, earned critical raves as it showcased a young Aretha in her church element. At Rotten Tomatoes, the movie boasts a 99% aggregate reviewers’ rating and an 85% audience score.

“Amazing Grace” is now available for streaming on services such as Amazon Prime and Google Play.

A stretch of the Lodge Freeway is being named in her honor.Last month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation designating a stretch of M-10 the Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway. 

Michigan Rep. Leslie Love, who sponsored the bill, says signage will be installed next spring, in conjunction with Franklin’s March 25 birthday. Money is still being raised to fund the $5,500 signs: realcreative313@gmail.com

Love said Franklin’s carefully guarded privacy while alive has made her a continuing subject of fascination.

“Who is Aretha Franklin? What did she like? What did she cry about? What made her laugh?” Love said. “In her death, we get these little hints. It’s the mystery coupled with the legend that still keeps us so interested.”

• MGM solidified details of itsupcoming Aretha biopic starring Jennifer Hudson. Stage veteran Liesl Tommy will direct and Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise”) is writing the script.

The studio also announced a planned August 2020 release – though an attorney for the Franklin estate recently said in court that a deal to make the film has not been formally reached.

• Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment announced that Franklin will be the subject of the third season of “Genius,” the National Geographic channel series that has previously spotlighted Albert Einstein and Picasso.

• Other posthumous awards have included a pair of new honors: In September, Franklin was bestowed the inaugural John. R. Lewis Award of Courage by the Congressional Black Caucus, as part of its long-running Phoenix Awards program.

And the Stellar Awards, the long-running gospel ceremony, introduced the Aretha Franklin ICON Award during its show in April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face Smiley face