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The student news site of Stockbridge High School


The student news site of Stockbridge High School


Tuned in

Aretha Franklin: Queen of soul
Sydney Walker

Music can bring you back in time. It forces you to think and feel what once was. One powerful voice filled with soul and creativity roots from the queen herself, Aretha Franklin, who was a force in the late sixties and throughout the seventies. Although she passed away on August 16th, 2018, her songs still thrive and are thoroughly enjoyed. 

Even though Franklin has many great songs, what she went through became fuel for how passionate her voice was when singing. Franklin’s parents separated when she was six and she remained living with her father in Detroit while her mother moved to Buffalo, New York. When she was ten, her mother passed away due to a heart attack. Franklin was very close with her mother, according to her sister Carolyn, so it definitely impacted her in a big way. 

When Franklin was twelve, she became pregnant. The circumstances surrounding the pregnancy are unclear, thus when she was just two months away from turning thirteen, she gave birth to her first son, Clarence. Later, as a fourteen-year-old, she got impregnated again and gave birth to her second son, Eddie. After the birth of Franklin’s first son and eventually her second son, her grandmother ended up taking care of them. Franklin dropped out of school at that point and her father recruited her to begin traveling with him and his gospel group on the road. Franklin was still very young and she was inevitably exposed to things in that industry that essentially forced her to grow up faster. 

At 19 years old, Franklin married a man named Ted White, 30 at the time, whom she had met for the first time when she was 12 at a party inside her dad’s home. White was supposed to be known as the slickest pimp in Detroit. During their marriage, sadly, but not entirely surprising, White was abusive towards Franklin and in 1968 he abused her publicly at Atlanta’s Regency Hyatt Hotel. Their tumultuous marriage came to an end after seven years. 

After living through her many traumatic and unsettling experiences, Franklin sang about topics that were very present during the 60s and 70s. Her song Respect, released in 1967, became an anthem for the feminist and civil rights movements during the 70s. Although Franklin was known to keep her personal life mostly private, there have been speculations and rumors about what her songs truly meant. And, just like many singers and songwriters at the time, she sang about what was going on around her in the world instead of what was happening in her life currently. Some of her songs, however, were as simple as Freeway of Love which embodied the spirit of her hometown, Detroit. This song was a homage to Detroit’s flourishing culture, music scene and people. 

Aretha Franklin’s voice is surely not forgotten as her soul still fills with undeniable passion and vibrancy. 

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About the Contributor
Sydney Walker
Sydney Walker, Reporter
Sydney Walker joined Uncaged this year as a sophomore. She plans to continue to be a part of the Uncaged team for the rest of her highschool career. When she is not being suffocated by school work, Sydney loves writing and expressing her soul on paper. She also enjoys reading, listening to music, watching movies/shows, spending time in the vast wonders of nature, and spending everlasting quality time with her beautiful dog. Sydney is still quite unsure what she wants to do after highschool, but she knows she will inevitably write at least one book. Lastly, Sydney is a ginger, and all those myths about redheads are true…
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