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Statement on the passing of Aretha Franklin

General Foundation News

Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson issued the following statement regarding the passing of the legendary Detroit artist on August 16, 2018.

Aretha Franklin performs at Obama inauguration, 2009.
Aretha Franklin performs “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at Obama inauguration, 2009. Photo by Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force

It was while living here in Detroit that Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin donned her crown, and we Detroiters will always believe we are the first subjects among the many in her kingdom. It was here that she grew up singing in the church of her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, and here that she returned to make her home in the 1980s. In 1967 – a time of social conflict, we might remind ourselves – her call for “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” was more than a passing pop song. It was a clarion call, an anthem for the day and for all times. That was just one of many, many memorable high notes in the decades of her reign. We have heard her jazz and her gospel, her soul and her blues, her ballads and her dance tunes. We have heard in her music an intimacy with tradition, the deepest well of emotions and an electrifying creativity. Aretha Franklin will always be our Queen of Soul.