TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+

Aretha Franklin makes history with posthumous Pulitzer win

NEW YORK (AP) — Aretha Franklin is still getting R-E-S-P-E-C-T after death: The Queen of Soul received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor Monday, becoming the first individual woman to earn a special citation prize since the honor was first awarded in 1930.

The Pulitzer board said the award was given to Franklin for “her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”

Franklin died on Aug. 16 at her home in Detroit from pancreatic cancer at age 76.

The superstar musician was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when she entered the prestigious organization in 1987.

The Pulitzer board most recently awarded a special citation prize in 2010 to Hank Williams, the country music legend who died in 1953. From the arts world, other recipients include Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, George Gershwin, Ray Bradbury, William Schuman, Milton Babbitt, Scott Joplin, Roger Sessions, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Before Monday, only 41 special citation prizes had been awarded since 1930, and winners have ranged from individual people to organizations and groups, including the New York Times, writers E.B. White, Alex Haley and Kenneth Roberts, and Columbia University and its Graduate School of Journalism. Franklin and the Capital Gazette newspaper received special citation honors this year.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin.

“Aretha is blessed and highly favored even in death. She’s continued to receive multiple awards — she’s received almost every award imaginable and now to get the Pulitzer Prize, it’s just amazing,” Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and the executor of her estate, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. “Aretha continues to bless us with her music and just paving the way for women going forward. It’s thrilling. She would be so happy right now.”

When Owens heard the news that Franklin won a Pulitzer, she and the family were “surprised but in another way we were not because that’s just the kind of person Aretha was.”

“She was just very gifted and talented, and the world is still recognizing that,” she said.

Franklin’s inclusion into the exclusive club re-confirms the impact her music — and voice — had and continues to have on the world. She became a cultural icon and genius of American song, considered by many to be the greatest popular vocalist of her time. Her voice transcended age, category and her own life.

Franklin was professional singer and accomplished pianist by her late teens and a superstar by her mid-20s. Raised in Detroit, she recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century, including 20 that reached No. 1 on the R&B charts.

But her reputation was defined by an extraordinary run of Top 10 smashes in the late 1960s, from the morning-after bliss of ”(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” to the wised-up “Chain of Fools” to her unstoppable call for “Respect,” transforming Otis Redding’s song into a classic worldwide anthem — especially for the feminist and civil rights movements — making it one of the most recognizable and heard songs of all-time.

She sold millions of albums and won countless awards, including 18 Grammys, the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

She performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and even sang at the funeral for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and at the dedication of Martin Luther King Jr’s memorial.

Aretha Franklin.

Rolling Stone ranked Franklin No.1 on its list of the Top 100 singers and she was also named one of the 20 most important entertainers of the 20th century by Time magazine, which celebrated her “mezzo-soprano, the gospel growls, the throaty howls, the girlish vocal tickles, the swoops, the dives, the blue-sky high notes, the blue-sea low notes. Female vocalists don’t get the credit as innovators that male instrumentalists do. They should. Franklin has mastered her instrument as surely as John Coltrane mastered his sax.”

Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, though her family moved to Buffalo, New York, and then settled in Detroit. She grew up singing in the church alongside her father Rev. C.L. Franklin, a prominent Baptist minister who recorded dozens of albums of sermons and music. She joined him on tour and she released a gospel album in 1956. Four years later, she signed with Columbia Records and when her contract ran out in 1966, she joined Atlantic Records.

That’s when she blazed the pop and R&B charts with a string of hits, including “Respect,” ″I Say a Little Prayer,” ″Think,” ″Chain of Fools,” ″Day Dreaming,” ″(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone,” ″Rock Steady” and “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).”

Her Grammy-winning album, “Amazing Grace,” is one of the seminal albums in not only Franklin’s discography, but the canon of American pop music. It is the basis for the recently released concert film “Amazing Grace,” filmed over two sessions in January 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts section of Los Angeles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VIDEO NEWS

National Politics

Police officer in ‘I can’t breathe’ death won’t be charged

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they won’t bring criminal charges against…

House Democrats’ racially charged infighting escalates

An all-out racially charged fight within the House Democratic Caucus escalated Saturday when an African…

Top Puerto Rican officials resign over profanity-laced chat

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Saturday that his…

U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Al Lawson, and Alma Adams Introduce HUD Inspection Act of 2019

ORLANDO, FL – Today, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05), Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12), and Rep.…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis to visit First Coast High School in Jacksonville Monday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– First Lady Casey DeSantis will visit First Coast High School on Monday, July…

Getting to Know Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill: “It all started with a park bench.”

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - If I told you it was a park bench that…

Senator Linda Stewart Urges Orlando and Orange County Mayors To Join South Miami In Sanctuary City Lawsuit

ORLANDO, Fla. – Eyeing what she sees as overreach by the federal government to combat a…

Governor Ron DeSantis Appoints Two to the Florida Commission on Ethics

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of John Grant and the reappointment…

FNN SPORTS

  • DAYTONA, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Named Honorary Pace Truck Driver for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Photo by Willie David / Florida National News)

MORE SPORTS NEWS

Pride Mount Comeback But Fall in Stoppage to Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. - Orlando Pride (2-9-2, 8 points) erased a two-goal deficit, including a 90th-minute equalizer,…

Orlando Pride to Celebrate World Cup Champions Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris on Tuesday Night

ORLANDO, Fla. – After helping lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to its fourth FIFA…

Joel Smeenge Named No. 24 On Jagaurs All-25

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jaguars DE Joel Smeenge has been named No. 24 on the…

Daytona International Speedway to Launch Fireworks Extravaganza on Wednesday Night

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona International Speedway is going to finish its Independence Day holiday…

Philadelphia Union’s Explosive Plays Rout Orlando City 3-1 at Home

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - Orlando City wasted no time upon their return home against…

It begins: NBA free agency finally starts Sunday

Kawhi Leonard is planning meetings in Los Angeles. Kevin Durant will do the same in…

BUSINESS NEWS

  • FILE In this May 31, 2018, file photo a customer enters the Apple store in New York. Apple on Monday, March 18, 2019, unveiled a new iPad that's thinner and slightly larger than its current entry-level tablet. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    NEW YORK (AP) - Apple refreshes iPad lineup, with larger entry-level model. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

Celebration is Chick-fil-A’s largest, single-day customer appreciation event

ATLANTA, Ga. – Get your cow costumes ready – Chick-fil-A is celebrating its 15th annual…

[WATCH] Nourishing Biologicals Launches Four-Piece Flagship Product Line

SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Nourishing Biologicals, a science-based skin care company created to fight and…

Getting to Know Sutherlin Nissan Co-Owner “U.S. Marine”

WINTER PARK, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - “U.S. Marine,” the man who owns Sutherlin Nissan, pretty…

Trump Delays Imposing Tariffs on Auto Imports and Parts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Caught in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald…

US to Add 30,000 Seasonal Worker Visas as Soon as This Week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration plans to allow 30,000 more foreign workers temporarily into…

Shark Tank Star Daymond John, DWTS's Lindsay Arnold, Joey Fatone to Host Runway to Hope 2019 Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Runway to Hope co-founder Attorney Mark NeJame announced on Facebook Wednesday…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

  • Supermodel Bella Hadid outdid the red carpet she walked on at the "Dolor Y Gloria" premiere during the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Friday. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept Magazine/Florida National News.
    CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - [PHOTOS] Bella Hadid Stuns for “Dolor Y Gloria” Premiere at Cannes Film Festival (Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept Magazine/Florida National News)

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Disney Skyliner Takes Flight Sept. 29, 2019, at Walt Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Disney Skyliner will begin carrying guests high above Walt Disney…

The Super-Busy Person’s Guide to the Top 10 Summer Movies of 2019

ORLANDO (FNN NEWS) - Is the July Florida heat getting to your head? Need something…

South Korea’s Top 3 Entertainment Companies Face an Intense Month of Scandals

SEOUL, South Korea (FNN NEWS) - South Korea’s top three entertainment companies, YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment,…

Singer and Songwriter Darius Rucker Visits Walt Disney World Resort

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Singer and songwriter Darius Rucker poses with Woody during his visit…

‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Will Blow You Away [Spoiler-Free Review]

Netflix hit series Stranger Things has finally released its third season, and it's just as amazing…

Toy Story 4 repeats at No. 1 over Annabelle, Yesterday

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Toy Story 4” hung onto the top spot in its second…

LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL & TOURISM

  • UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Cinematic Horror Icons Come to Life in All-New “Universal Monsters” Mazes at Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights”

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

Disney Skyliner Takes Flight Sept. 29, 2019, at Walt Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Disney Skyliner will begin carrying guests high above Walt Disney…

Before You Go: 5 Powerful Things You Must Know to Conquer College

College life can be rough, especially if you’re in a dorm or moved out on…

[OPINION] Tampering with Our Food is a Crime!

Thanks to social media, it seems a new fad or trend emerges every other month.…

Singer and Songwriter Darius Rucker Visits Walt Disney World Resort

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Singer and songwriter Darius Rucker poses with Woody during his visit…

[OPINION] Why are We Voting on Whether LGBTQ Parents Can Adopt? Let Them.

The debate for LGBTQ+ rights rages on, and whether or not they should be able…

Celebration is Chick-fil-A’s largest, single-day customer appreciation event

ATLANTA, Ga. – Get your cow costumes ready – Chick-fil-A is celebrating its 15th annual…