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Aretha Franklin -Unspoken Conflicts, Unusual Victories.

3 Mins read

Aretha Franklin: According to The Guardian newspaper, her fraught personal life was instinctively understood by the select few she allowed into her circle, particularly the female soul singers with whom she bonded.

”There was always an unspoken understanding between us”, the paper report Etta James to have later confessed. “… we’d be drawn to men, the wrong men, who weren’t in love with us, but we’re in love with who we were”.

To each and everyone of us, our personalities

To each and everyone of us, are the two components of personalities. Have you found yours? Are you relinquishing one for the other or are you maximizing the power of the two?

Soon, the two or multiple different you, young, adorable, charmingly different you,  will both or all grow old, and lose the energy, spark, vitality and vigor of your youth or your yesterday.

Undisputed Queen of Soul

As if asking you, now I have handed the baton over, what are you going to do with your life, even if just what remains of it?

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.– Eleanor Roosevelt

Most, if not all of us, carry this multiple personalities, which are not limited to the fully known, partially known and the unknown. Even The Washington Post (TWP) had to put an editor’s note to their write up on Aretha. An update, to remove what they called “speculative analysis of Franklin’s life story”.  

At death, she can’t refute any story. And I wonder why you and I bother spending so much resources refuting our yesterday. Instead, we should just be writing tomorrrow with an irrefutable golden ink.

TWP went on to report that Aretha’s life wasn’t always as victorious as her records sounded. Now, that is the Privatelyme that am talking about. The you and I, that is, just us – private and classically different from the one that is public.

Aretha Franklin – not always an easy step up

From an early age, TWP reported that Aretha’s life was marred with difficulties. The sorts of crushing trials and tributions many people never work their way out from under. That the Queen of Soul’s ascent to the throne was not always an easy one.


And I thought my way up the little stairway, the corridor walk from my current job level to the next was hard. Hard enough for me to give up on life. What a weak punch am throwing back at life’s challenges!

Aretha’s home was also reported to be unstable. Left by her mum at age 6, lost her to the cold hands of death at 10. She herself giving birth to her first child at 12 years of age, her second by a different father at 15. A third child, still to a different father at 19, in a tempestuous marriage that lasted just 8 years!

It’s debateable if her turbulent personal life fuel her music and the passion with which she delivered it.  But she lived till 76! She was crowned number one in Rolling Stone’s “The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.”

She sold more than 75 million records, and won 18 Grammy Awards out of 44 nominations. She performed at the inaugural events of three US presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s.

“Respect” Aretha Franklin

Her song “Respect” has been part of the soundtracks in 29 films. It was an unofficial anthem for the civil rights movement and the women’s movement.

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman …

Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But you’re the key to my peace of mind

‘Cause you make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like
A natural woman (woman)

When my soul was in the lost and found
You came along to claim it
I didn’t know just what was wrong with me
‘Til your kiss helped me name it
Now I’m no longer doubtful, of what I’m living for
And if I make you happy I don’t need to do more …

Born March 25, 1942 and died August 16, 2018.

Music made Aretha Franklin come alive, and what she gave, the world accepted.

She captured the essence in Howard Thurman’s word. We all shouldn’t “… ask what the world needs. (But we should) Ask what makes you (and I) come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”.

Eleanor Roosevelt also spoke to Aretha Franklin. He told her in this quote, “you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop, to look fear in the face. You are able to say, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along’. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.

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