Aretha Franklin Makes It To History Books With Prestigeous Pulitzer Prize

Ria Das
Apr 18, 2019 04:51 IST
Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, on Monday was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She was bestowed with this special citation prize "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades," according to a release, The Hindu reported.


Franklin is the first woman to receive the special recognition since 1930.

With this new feat, late Earth Goddess Franklin becomes the first woman (single) to receive an honorary Pulitzer, joining several other noteworthy musicians including Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and John Coltrane among others.

The superstar musician Franklin became the 12th musician, and first woman ever to receive a Pulitzer special award and citation.

Franklin, who was suffering from pancreatic cancer, died in August at age 76 in 2018. She also became the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had won 18 Grammys, 73 of her songs were listed in the Billboard Top 100 listing.
“Aretha is blessed and highly favored even in death. She’s continued to receive multiple awards — she’s received almost every award imaginable and now to get the Pulitzer Prize, it’s just amazing,” Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Page Six reported. She further added “Aretha 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.”

Poynter reports states that Franklin is the first woman to receive the special recognition since 1930. Since its inception, 41 people and institutions have received the honour.

“The Pulitzer Prizes, and these special award citations, stand for work of breadth, excellence and consequence in making our society a better place to be,” said Neil Brown, Poynter’s president and a Pulitzer Prize board member. “Aretha Franklin’s contributions remain deep, inspiring and altogether fitting of such recognition,” he added.

Rolling Stone magazine rated her as the greatest singer of all time, recognising songs like 'Respect', 'Chain Of Fools' and (You Make Me Feel Like) 'A Natural Woman' as all time greats.

“Aretha Franklin, who came out of gospel and brought religious-philosophical dimension of the black experience into popular music. So you can see a real continuum.” says Stewart, whose Locke biography also won a National Book Award.

Franklin legacy has touched countless other women of colour artists. In honour of her work, Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark acknowledged more work by women of colour:

“My hope is that this prize to Aretha will accelerate a pattern of recognition by the Pulitzer Prizes. Going back a century, there were countless African-Americans and women who had little or no chance to win an award in any category because of their race or gender. The great poet Langston Hughes comes to mind. What if the Pulitzer folks began a concerted effort to repair such neglect and inequity by looking back every year and honoring those who — against many odds — contributed so much to American culture?” Clark expressed, Jezebel reprted.

Meanwhile, this year's Pulitzer Prize for music went to Ellen Reid's opera p r i s m . The Pulitzer jury described the piece as a "bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront difficult subject matter: The effects of sexual and emotional abuse".
Feature Image Credit : NBC News
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