Aretha Franklin Overcome With Emotion After Street Named After Her In Detroit
BY SUSAN JOHNES
Last week, the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin was honored with a street named after her in Detroit. Aretha Franklin Way now covers a portion of Madison Avenue beginning at the corner of Brush Street outside of the Detroit City Music Hall for the Performing Arts.
The area is the heart of a performing arts district that includes the Detroit Opera House.
During the unveiling ceremony, Franklin was near-speechless. The 75-year-old songstress later spoke at the Music Hall where she thanked the city of Detroit for always supporting her.
“Thank you again for this great honor of this street, Aretha’s Way. I want to see it every time I come down here,” she said. Franklin shed more tears as the audience applauded her.
The multiple Grammy winner and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is known for hits such as “Respect,” “Freeway of Love” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”
“Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that,” she once stated in an interview.
Franklin told a crowd gathered at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts that she knew she would get the honor. She was also given a Spirit of Detroit pin and a proclamation. Franklin went on to recall her youthful days skating at the Arcadia Ballroom and singing at the Flame Show Bar.
She stated that Detroit had been with her when no one else knew her. Franklin’s voice was first heard as a child at her family’s church in Detroit. She later signed her first record deal at 18 that would launch her into an R&B star.
Little did she know the best was yet to come. In 1967, Franklin signed with Atlantic Records and released “Respect.” It wasn’t long after she was dubbed the queen of soul.
Franklin went on to release several popular singles, many of which are now considered classics. In 2008 Franklin won her 18th Grammy Award, which made her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.
As part of the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend, Franklin performed a free show on Saturday evening, designed to showcase the area’s artists.
Even though Franklin retired from music, she left the industry as an enriched and satisfied person on where her career came from and where it is now.
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