Black Sounds Beautiful: How Aretha Franklin Ascended To Soul Royalty
To understand Aretha Franklin's appeal across decades, genres and color lines, just watch the reactions to her volcanic performance of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center in 2015.
Carole King, who co-wrote the song, is flabbergasted, animated as her jaw hangs open in amazement. On the other hand, the generally unflappable Barack Obama stoically sheds a tear. Such is the essence of Franklin: At first, her voice may be an electric jolt to the body, but one walks away with a feeling of religious awe.
In the latest episode of Black Sounds Beautiful, take a ride through Franklin's astonishing litany of accomplishments. The quick-yet-dynamic clip begins with her 1967 GRAMMY win for her titanic single "Respect," which became an anthem for racial and gender justice.
Not merely paying lip service to the civil rights movement, she toured with Martin Luther King, Jr. and singer/activist Harry Belafonte, spreading the gospel of universal equity to every audience she sang for.
All the way up to that earth-shaking 2015 performance, Franklin stayed relevant, a living legend. She received the Recording Academy's GRAMMY Legend Award in 1991 and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
Overall, she has five recordings in the GRAMMY Hall of Fame: "Respect," "Chain Of Fools," "Amazing Grace," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," and "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You."
As GRAMMY.com carries on with its Black Music Month celebrations, check out the above video to celebrate the beautiful life and irrepressible joy of the Queen of Soul.