15 Inspirational Quotes by Aretha Franklin: First Black Woman to Be Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Known as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was one of the few Black musicians who revolutionized music in the 1960s. Also known as the ‘Voice of Black America’, ‘America’s Truest Voices’ and the ‘voice that gave America its heart and soul’, Aretha’s illustrious career was nothing short of spectacular.

Born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, into a family who knew the stage lifestyle pretty well, Aretha stepped onto that platform naturally. Her father was a well-revered preacher (Reverend C. L. Franklin) and her mother (Barbara Franklin) was a highly skilled piano player and gospel singer.

She got her exposure to music in her father’s church and began learning the piano as well as singing solos when she was just 12 years old. Her father, discovering her unique voice, managed her and arranged a record deal for her with J.V.B Records. Her first single, ‘Never Grow Old’ was released in 1956 when she was only 14. Thus, her climb to stardom began as the decade unfolded.

Her career was nothing short of brilliant, spanning a duration of seven decades. 112 of her singles entered the Billboard Charts and 17 top 10 singles in the Hot 100 Charts. She released 39 studio albums and 8 live albums. In total, she won 18 Grammy Awards, including 8 Grammy Awards in a row for Best Female RnB Vocal Performance from 1968 to 1975.

Her songs had such an impact on people that one in particular—‘Respect’—became an anthem for the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement. In that respect, here are some striking quotes by Aretha to help you put your best foot forward.

15+ Inspirational Quotes By Aretha Franklin

  1. You cannot define a person on just one thing. You can’t just forget all these wonderful and good things that a person has done because one thing didn’t come off the way you thought it should come off.
  2. Be your own artist and always be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.
  3. People really don’t have to give you anything, so appreciate what people give you.
  4. Trying to grow up is hurting. You make mistakes. You try to learn from them, and when you don’t, it hurts even more
  5. If you disrespect everybody that you run into, how in the world do you think everybody’s supposed to respect you?
  6. It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.
  7. I think it would be a far greater world if people were kinder and more respectful to each other.
  8. Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.
  9. We didn’t have music videos. You weren’t an overnight sensation. You had to work at it and learn your craft: how to take care of your voice, how to pace your concerts, all that trial and error.
  10. It really is an honour if I can be inspirational to a younger singer or person. It means I’ve done my job.
  11. Sometimes, what you’re looking for is already there.
  12. Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.
  13. I’ve been around long enough for people to know who I am and what my contributions are. They know me as more than just an artist. I think they know me as a woman as well.
  14. I am doing what I love to do, and you cannot beat that, especially when the audience appreciates what you prepare for them. It’s very, very gratifying.
  15. As women… we have the power. We are very resourceful. Women absolutely deserve respect.
  16. Falling out of love is like losing weight. It’s a lot easier putting on than taking it off.

Aretha Franklin was a force of nature, with a gripping voice and a magnificent presence. In 1987, she was the first black woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also sang at the presidential inauguration of 3 U.S. presidents—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2005, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the highest honour given to a civilian by the United States.

Although from a humble background, Aretha left a distinct mark on the world with her musical talent.

You can also check out other empowering quotes by black women, such as Mae Jemison (the first black woman in space) and Sheila Johnson (the first black female billionaire).

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