Tears, cheers, and RESPECT: The amazing bond between a 'divine' Aretha Franklin & Barack and Michelle Obama
The Queen of Soul who died on Thursday made Barack Obama cry in 2015 with her soulful rendition of '(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman'
Aretha Franklin was known as the 'Queen of Soul' for many reasons, and one of them was poignantly evident on December 2015, when she made the then US President Barack Obama cry with a stirring performance of '(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman' at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington.
The importance of Franklin in Obama's life couldn't be overstated, and according to the Rolling Stone, "no performer meant more to America’s 44th president than the Queen of Soul."
After the legend passed away on Thursday morning, the former president released a statement — not a tweet — mourning her death, hailing her for her "unmatched musicianship" that helped define the American experience."
Everytime she sang "we were all graced with the glimpse of the divine," Obama said.
“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. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”
As she belted out her breakout 1967 hit at the event to honour Carole King in 2015, Obama was reduced to tears as his wife, Michelle Obama, looked on, captivated by the performance.
The then 73-year-old King seated next to the president and Michelle Obama looked ecstatic and close to tears herself.
Obama swayed along with the song, and several celebrities in the audience were spotted singing along. The audience gave a standing ovation as Franklin stood up from the piano and dressed in a full-length fur coat, she hit the high notes near the song's conclusion.
On Thursday, Franklin died at the age of 76 after it was reported a couple of days of back that her health was deteriorating. Franklin, the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, died in her Detroit home, where family and friends had gathered during her final days.
Obama’s love for the Queen of Soul was a lifelong affair, that also threaded his public life -- from when he was on the campaign trail in 2008 to the end of his presidency.
Franklin was at the National Mall at Obama's inauguration in January 2009. She sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” as a resolute Obama stood with his chip up.
Known to be one of America’s biggest divas, she has influenced many generations of singers with her chart-topping numbers in the 1960s and 1970s including ‘Respect’ in 1967, ‘Natural Woman’ in 1968 and I Say a Little Prayer’ in 1968. Some of her other hits include 'Day Dreaming' of 1972, 'Jump to It' from 1982, and 'A Rose Is Still A Rose' from 1998. A 1986 duet with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," hit number one in several countries. She had dozens of Top 40 singles, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rest in peace Aretha Franklin, sing among the angels and we will always hear you.