The “R.E.S.P.E.C.T,” tribute concert on Nov. 1 at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center explored the life and legacy of legendary singer Aretha Franklin


Victoria Ware, Features and Cultures Editor

  The concert came after the fourth anniversary of Franklin’s death on Aug. 16, 2018.

  The program interweaved the stories of Franklin’s personal life and career. A main focus throughout the show was the impact that her parents–especially her father–had on her. 

    During her childhood, Franklin was surrounded by pillars of Black culture as a result of her father, Reverend C. L. Franklin, hosting star-studded house parties. Franklin was raised around gospel singers such as Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Albertina Walker and James Cleveland.  

  Early in her career journey, Franklin made a transition from singing gospel music to singing secular music. She took inspiration from singer Sam Cooke (who is considered to be the King of Soul), who made a transition from gospel to pop music. The program discussed Franklin’s mixing of genres and her journey to finding a signature singing style.

  “Aretha would try and find her signature style,” performer Nattalyee Randall said. “She wasn’t quite pop. She wasn’t exactly R&B. She wasn’t all the way gospel, but she was an unstoppable mix of all three.” 

  Several of Franklin’s career-defining achievements were listed at the conclusion of the evening such as winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom, being the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and being the youngest person to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. 

 Franklin also won 18 Grammy Awards along with many Legend and Lifetime Achievements and managed to place over 100 singles on the top 100 Billboard, according to performer Ashton Weekes.