WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — As you well-know, soul pioneering legend Aretha Franklin passed away this morning, August 16. And President Barack Obama was not short of words describing her inspiration and influence in his life.
As concerns Aretha Franklin, Obama says she was “more enduring” than royalty. Via a Facebook post from President Barack’s page, he mentions as follows regarding the “Queen of Soul.”
“America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine.”
“Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience,” Barack Obama continues concerning Franklin’s legacy.
“In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.”
According to Obama, Franklin “helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human.” Likewise, Barack says Aretha even, sometimes assisted us in simply forgetting “everything else,” leaving us to just dance.
“Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all,” President Obama closes regarding Franklin. “May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.”
Via Barack Obama’s Twitter, he also states that Aretha Franklin “helped define the American experience.”
If you remember, back in 2015, she performed at the Kennedy Center for President Obama and it perfectly brought him to tears. According to The New Yorker, Barack noted the following statements about Franklin’s voice.
“American history wells up when Aretha sings. That’s why, when she sits down at a piano and sings ‘A Natural Woman,’ she can move me to tears — the same way that Ray Charles’ version of ‘America the Beautiful’ will always be, in my view, the most patriotic piece of music ever performed — because it captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.”
You can watch Aretha Franklin’s Kennedy Center performance in the video clip below, if you’re interested.
Alongside President Obama, Michelle also paid her own tribute to the legendary “Respect” artist via Twitter.
“Watching Aretha Franklin perform at the White House, and on so many other occasions, made time stand still,” Michelle tweets. “[Barack Obama] and I are holding Aretha’s family in our hearts right now. She will forever be our Queen of Soul.”
Barack and Michelle have held long-standing admiration and connection with Aretha. Obama’s 2009 inauguration was blessed with Franklin’s music and presence as well. There, she sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
If interested, you can watch the Queen of Soul slay in the footage below.
All in all, Barack and Michelle Obama will clearly miss Aretha, as will much of America and the rest of the world. She truly was and will always be a gift to Earth and humanity.
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[Featured Photo via Barack Obama / Facebook]