Portrait of Aretha Franklin during her younger years.

I generally don't do celebrity portraits especially post death but Aretha Franklin is different because of the incredible accomplishments she'd achieved during her lifetime.

Also, even though the accomplishments of Aretha Franklin were history in the making, it's WHEN she did a lot of these things that makes her life even more noteworthy. Aretha Franklin performed at a time when open racism against Blacks was ( and still is) a very serious problem in America. Too many held to the ridiculous notion that Blacks aren't intelligent, Blacks aren't capable of anything positive, Blacks aren't worthy of consideration. Blacks are guilty until proven innocent and even then, we're still guilty simply because we exist. Blacks aren't even considered human. Lynchings were still practiced, open segregation is enforced, police brutality is an everyday occurrence yet Aretha Franklin succeeded despite all of it. Keep in mind that as bad as it was (still is ) for Black men, it was even worse for Black women but Aretha Franklin beat the odds. Aretha Franklin is hands down the most accomplished female singer in American history if not the world and was voted as the best singer of all time by Rolling Stone. THE best singer. Her accomplishments are so vast that I won't list them here but the link above will give a good idea of what Aretha has done in her lifetime.

In the current era, racism is still very much supported in America except now it's given colorful names or spun using shady practices as to not be associated with the dark racist past of the nation. The challenges Aretha Franklin faced in the past as a young reverend's daughter with an amazing voice haven't gone away. They've been repackaged, reinvented, relabeled in order to hold on to the same ridiculous notions from the past about Black people specifically, minorities in general. Justification for whichever suspect policy is being written, whichever idiotic law is being enforced or simply just catering to the tired nonsense that white is right. The greatest lessons that stay with me about Aretha Franklin's life, it's her determination to continue forward regardless of the hatred aimed toward her and the determination to continue to master her craft even to the very end.

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