Publisher’s note: After a long battle with cancer, Aretha Franklin has passed away today at the age of 76. According to the Associated Press, she died in her Detriot home this morning. As Mieka notes below, ‘everybody already knows damn well who the fuck Aretha Franklin is,’ so we’ll spare you the obituary and repost Mieka’s loving tribute to Aretha from earlier this week.
Aretha embodies the word “diva” better than anyone else alive. Every stage of that word’s etymological history can be applied to Aretha. From the original Italian meaning of “female deity,” to its usage as a descriptor for an “opera singer of extraordinary talent”, to several of the Urban Dictionary definitions that include:
A fierce, often temperamental singer who comes correct. She is not a trick ass hoe, and she does not sweat da haters.
To describe a person who exudes great style and personality with confidence and expresses their own style and not letting others influence who they are or want to be.
This is not an obituary, so I’ll spare you the biography. Besides, everybody already knows damn well who the fuck Aretha Franklin is. Her voice could move mountains. I mean that almost literally; her voice could push a boulder up a mountain with its power, passion, and precision.
Aretha Franklin at piano down dirty blues— Joan D Rawls (@JeanneD_Arte) August 14, 2018
"The moment when Aretha Franklin sang for Barack Obama on his inauguration day: pic.twitter.com/RRX9PkcVhw"— Muzamil (@promuzi) August 14, 2018
In addition to having extraordinary natural vocal talent, it’s Aretha’s relationship to the music and to her audience that makes her the unparalleled legend she is today. If not for Aretha, would other, lesser divas even know what to do with their hands while singing? Here is Aretha’s Guide To Diva Hands. Note: This is just a small sampling, which does not include the Queen Wave, the You Could Never, the And That’s How It’s Done or the Oh, Are You Still There?
Position 1: The Point, Skyward
This one’s for God. It’s also a clue; I’m about to sing a note that’s gonna give you chills.
Position 2: The Point, Audience Facing
I hope you know how lucky you are to be here.
Position 3: Flat Praise Hand, Eyes Closed
The spirit has taken over, the Lord is working through me. Church is obsolete.
Position 4: Closed Fist, Single
My diaphragm is engaged, prepare to have your ass blown right out of your seat.
Position 5: Closed Fist, Double
You are dead. I slayed you. You’re welcome.
Thank you, Ms. Franklin. Thank you for the tender care you’ve given my soul over the years. Thank you for the strength you’ve shown, and for knowing your own worth, and for sharing with us so generously the gift that God has given you. In Aretha’s name, I pray. I pray that you are surrounded by peace, love, and adoration (also by any fur coat of your choosing), now and forever. Amen.
Aretha Franklin .. pic.twitter.com/8DoL9zCfSE— Karina Hyett (@KarinaHyett) August 14, 2018
Header Image Source: Getty Images