Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 July 2019

Aretha Franklin makes history as she's given a posthumous Pulitzer Prize

The Queen of Soul is the first woman to be awarded the special citation prize since 1930

Aretha Franklin is the first woman to be given the Pulitzer Prize's special citation in its 89-year history. Reuters
Aretha Franklin is the first woman to be given the Pulitzer Prize's special citation in its 89-year history. Reuters

Let's give a little respect to Aretha Franklin, who was on Monday posthumously given the Pulitzer Prize's special citation award "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades".

The Queen of Soul is the first solo woman to get the prize since it was launched in 1930. Past winners include George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Bob Dylan. Only 41 of these prizes have ever been given out to both individuals and organisations, such as The New York Times and Columbia University.

"Aretha is blessed and highly favoured even in death," Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece and the executor of her estate, told the Associated Press. "[She] continues to bless us with her music and just paving the way for women going forward. It's thrilling. She would be so happy right now."

Franklin, who died last August aged 76 from pancreatic cancer, had enjoyed a wildly successful career that spanned more than 50 years. Millions of her records have been sold worldwide, she had more than 70 songs ranked in the Billboard Top 100, and she also became the first-ever woman to be admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

While Franklin, who was much-lauded for her mezzo-soprano and "gospel growls", released a number of award-winning albums and songs in her time, one of her best-known tunes has to be 1967's Respect, which was written by Otis Redding.

We'll leave you on that note...

Updated: April 16, 2019 11:22 AM

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