The Queen of Soul has left this realm as a Natural Woman and ascended into a celestial being. No amount of prayer or hooping can bring her back now and we are left with the decades of song she left behind. After watching the activists, stars and celebrities share pieces of her through their memories, at her funeral last week- it hit me that what we leave behind is all they'll have to remember us.
Aretha was the sound of Saturday's and Momma going back to school. Like us, she was sanctified and sensual. Songs like Respect, Think and Chain of Fools spoke to a woman who knew what she deserved and how she was supposed to be treated. Even if her present circumstances didn't match the dream, her songs let you know it was o.k. to dream a dream and even want an angel.
The same siren that recorded one of the highest regarded gospel albums of all time and went to her grave as one of the most committed benefactors of her late father's church, also showered us with the playful jams like Rock Steady, Jimmy Lee and the lover's rock of Do Right Man and Giving Him Something He Can Feel.
Ms. Franklin was an activist in her own right, let us not forget she told us it was o.k. to be young, gifted and black. Whether it be Angela Davis or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., , the Queen put her money and support where her mouth was. Before it was popular, she showed us how to be proud and our unique beautiful selves just by being herself. The sister whose musical acumen put her in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and earned her more Grammy's than the average artist will ever dream of, had style. Whether she was rocking crochet jump suits, floor length furs, short pixies or glamorous lengthy curls, she showed us what it meant to reinvent yourself. When many had written her off as an elder in the game, she reminded us that " a rose is still a rose," and continued to share her gifts with the world until she no longer had the strength.
Although ReRe, as Detroiter's especially loved to call their homegirl, kept her private life for the most part private, the revered grandmother and mother of four left a legacy of lyrics and sounds so deep, we didn't need or mind not being all in her business. As it should be. The sister who sang for all of us - paupers and presidents, gave so much of her self through her 60 plus year career of performances, recordings, audio and video dreamscapes and songwriting are all that we can or should ask of her.
Yes, the Queen of Soul has ascended. And though we can't help being sad for a while, I just imagine her essence flying free.