This is a response to your column "Say a Little Prayer for Aretha, and thank God you were alive at the same time she was":
It was indeed a good time to be alive when Aretha Franklin was alive. How wonderful to have witnessed the Queen of Soul’s reign. Though some of her signature hits topped music charts during my parents’ young adult years, the timeless songs have remained popular for subsequent generations to enjoy.
Music Appreciation classes began at home when one generation of fans played her hit records for the next generation. If you could easily sing her 60s era hits two decades after she first demanded R- E-S-P-E-C-T, let's just say you knew your literature.
Franklin’s unmistakable voice, the alluring gowns and captivating melodies simply wouldn’t depart your mind. That package set a glamorous Black female star on a stage that couldn’t restrict her to one music genre.
Many times I’ve reflected on the turbulent state of the nation during the sixties, and wondered if Aretha was one of God’s special gifts to that generation. A distinguished voice to soothe the soul of not just Black Americans, but America. She gave both Americas ample reason to share the same record stores, share the same performance halls, share the same airwaves when shared facilities of that era were uncommon.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T was more than a song.
Her songwriters and she dropped catchy lyrics on the pages that reflected the feelings of fans near and far: This was the land he worked by hand; this was the dream of an upright man; You make me feel like a natural woman; I’m just a link in your chain.
Now, we, her fans, are linked in a chain, a chain stretching around a globe and adorned by great memories associated with her music.
Yes Aretha, your Chain of Fools. By Kesha Williams of Elizabeth City, N.C.