Wonder Woman of the Week: Aretha Franklin
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Wonder-Woman Of The Week: Aretha Franklin

Musical icon, Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame recipient, and a trailblazer in the civil rights and women's rights movements.

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Aretha Franklin dubbed the "Queen of Soul," died on August 16th in her home in Detroit at 76 years old. For her funeral, Franklin was dressed in a gold dress and shoes to compliment her golden casket and has attendees such as Ariana Grande, Bill Clinton, Barbara Streisand, and more. This eccentric celebration of Aretha Franklin's long and impactful life was not just because she was a musical icon, but because she heavily participated in the civil rights and women's rights movements.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why Aretha Franklin is my wonder-woman of the week:

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Now a staple in music for generations upon generations of people, Aretha's hit single "Respect" was an anthem for what women of the second-wave feminist and civil rights movement demanded from society.

2. She showed her support and performed at pivotal civil rights conferences

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Acclaimed civil rights activist and senator John Lewis claimed that he would "never forget" Franklin's breathtaking performance at the Martin Luther King Jr. led Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta. She also toured the country with King in protest and sing gospel music.

3. She financially supported activists and groups of the civil rights movement

Apart from performing at landmark moments for the African-American community such as former President Barack Obama's inauguration and the aforementioned 1967 SCLC conference with Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin toured around the country in a series of concerts with the SCLC for free to provide monetary support to the civil rights movement. Reverend Jesse Jackson has said that "she helped [the organization] make payroll."

4. She supported the natural beauty movement

In an age where women were trying to defy harsh beauty and social standards that were imposed on them, Aretha Franklin used her prestige and fame to show women that natural could be beautiful by wearing her natural, beautiful afro hair.

5. She vehemently fought against unjust treatment in the courts

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Aretha told Jet in 1970, "I'm going to see [Angela Davis] free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism, but because she's a Black woman and she wants freedom for Black people." Angela Davis was an African American woman who was wrongfully accused and charged for the purchase of weapons that would later be used in a prison break.

Aretha Franklin, a woman vocally worthy of the momentous "Queen of Soul" title, was a true trailblazer who used her fame and talent to support a movement for equality and equal treatment for people of all races and genders. She lifted and motivated the spirits of the movement with her beautiful songs and voice, provided them with monetary support, and continued to support her community after the 1960's civil rights movement in the prolonging fight for equality.

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