With the death of singer and musical legend Aretha Franklin, a large number of LGBTQ icons are paying tribute to the inspirational artist.
It’s no wonder. Over five decades, the The Queen of Soul had over one hundred singles on the Billboard charts. She is universally cited as a predominant inspiration on generations of singers, and is considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, American vocalist of all time.
Additionally, she was an icon to marginalized people. Including drag performers everywhere.
Pink News quoted the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1, Bebe Zahara Benet, who said: “For me, Aretha Franklin was the embodiment of power and Black excellence. She used her artistry as activism and inspired me to do the same.”
Franklin was a mainstay of the civil rights battles in mid-century America, and not just for people of color. As the New York Times reported, “When Ms. Franklin sang ‘Respect,’ the Otis Redding song that became her signature, it was never just about how a woman wanted to be greeted by a spouse coming home from work. It was a demand for equality and freedom and a harbinger of feminism, carried by a voice that would accept nothing less.”
Elton John, a personal friend of Franklin’s, posted his tribute to her on Instagram:
“The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church … Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.”
Other luminaries gave their respects to the Queen of Soul, including Diana Ross, Lady Gaga, Missy Elliott, and Barbara Streisand. Ariana Grande paid tribute. Cher wrote on Twitter: “👑 Aretha…..Go Gently Into That Good Night. Your Glorious, One Of a Kind Voice Will Be With Us Forever🙏🏻. You were Always Just Beyond Our Reach.”
I have never been able To listen to Aretha’s Recording Of Skylark without Crying. Even as I write
— Cher (@cher) August 16, 2018
Franklin, 76, died in Detroit on August 16 from pancreatic cancer.