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Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ May Be More Relevant Today Than Ever Before

Aretha Franklin was a female icon and vocal powerhouse. At age 75, Franklin remains one of the most celebrated voices of both the 1960s, and of all time. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

As her farewell tour seems to be underway, and even when she does eventually stop touring, she will always have a special place in the hearts of her fans.

When talking about her biggest hit Respect,” Franklin tells Elle, “I was stunned when it went to number one, and it stayed number one for a couple weeks. It was the right song at the right time.”

Here is what Ms. Franklin meant to many notable women of our time:

Gloria Steinem, a journalist and feminist icon says, “I always felt that nothing too bad could happen in the world while I was listening to Aretha Franklin. Everything was good, including that I could dance with nobody around. True, there was a line in ‘Respect’ that made me anxious for both of us: something like, ‘I’m about to give you all my money.’ But I figured Aretha knew what she was doing, and nobody was going to mess with her. With us.”

Fellow vocal powerhouse, Christina Aguilera, calls “Respect,” “one of the best female anthems of all time. From the moment you hear the letters being spelled out in that sultry, soulful voice, with that melody. You can’t help but pay attention and give the respect the song calls for and deserves.”

“It was the first anthem of gender equality, really,” Alicia Keys says. “And Ms. Aretha just felt it. She’s one of the biggest reasons I write songs for us as women. The clear message of ‘Respect’ is something that we are still fighting for, and will continue to fight for and sing loudly about, until there are equal opportunities for all.”

Many Americans, men and women alike, feel that Franklin’s feminist anthem is more relevant and necessary than ever before, as we are enduring these polarizing political times.

Her voice and her music mean different things to different people, but we can all agree that it speaks to us. She breaks the glass ceiling with single notes, and leaves us shaken to the core in the best possible way.
As for why she does it, Franklin gracefully says, “Just to know I uplifted another person – I wouldn’t be doing anything else. In terms of helping people understand and know each other a little better, music is universal – universal and transporting.”

Featured Image by badgreeb RECORDS on Flickr
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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