Aretha Franklin: the voice that was the flag of feminism in the sixties




Aretha Franklin was an icon of civil and feminist rights in the 1960s Source: AP

The Civil Rights Movement of African Americans and
the disruption of a strong feminist movement throughout the United States created the atmosphere and conditions for it


Aretha Franklin
a black artist, daughter of a predecessor of the Baptist church, single mother and teenager, born in Memphis – where the KKK burned houses and murdered members of the African-American community – became an icon of persecuted minorities of American society,
thanks to the number "Respect."

The song that was recorded two years earlier by Otis Redding and with a more sensual tessitura completely changed the symbolic character when the voice of
Aretha Franklin has recorded the emotional intensity of that letter.
"Respect", ceased to be a simple marital relationship and catalysed in her lines the feeling of empowerment of African-American women who went through the spirit of freedom of time. The theme was immediately transformed into a feminist anthem when it was released in April 1967, and one of the greatest successes of Aretha Franklin's career: she won her first two Grammy awards, as best R & B recording and as the best female R & B performance (a prize that he won successively until 1975)

Behind that leitmotif, where the woman demanded respect his partner when he came home from work was a claim of equality. Aretha became the banner of African-American feminism: the singer was connected to the civil rights movement and in her parental home.
Detroit (city where he died this morning) there were meetings where Martin Luther King took part. "Dad had preached black pride for decades," he told writer David Ritz, "and we, as a people, had rediscovered how beautiful the black man really was, and expressed the phrase," Say it aloud, I am black and I am pride ".

Other sectors of society also felt represented, as if that voice was being born to sing that song, at that key moment in American history. "It was the need of the nation, the needs of the average man and woman on the street, the businessman, the mother, the firefighter, the teacher, everyone wanted respect," he wrote in his autobiography.
Aretha: From These Roots .

The song & # 39; Respect & # 39 ;, recorded on Valentine's Day 1967, It also reflected the need for racial integration. Jerry Wexler, the producer who brought Aretha Franklin to Atlantic Records, convinced her to work with the rhythm section of the recording studio Fame Records in the city of Muscle Shoals, consisting of white musicians from Alabama, who were behind great successes of the band. soul of the Motown label. The combination of gospel, soul and blues was explosive.
Behind "Respect" the singer found a way to talk about a modern and powerful woman who had been planted differently in the society of the sixties – traversed by the hippie counterculture movement, the appearance of the Black Panthers and the Vietnam War – the selling a rudimentary repertoire of songs like "Chain of Fools", "Think" (written by Aretha Franklin and White), "I say a little prayer", "Do right woman-do right man" "Thinking" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A natural woman "who accompanied her throughout her career.

"We just tried to compose real music from my heart", Aretha Franklin admitted with simplicity when her biography came out in 1999. But Aretha Franklin was much more than that. Defined as everyone, the deepest expression of the pain of American society crossed by racial tensions and the war in Vietnam. His voice, which looked like divine grace and resonated beyond individual relationships, reflected a country, a society and a world that expected change. And what is waiting for you

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