Black History Month is here!

We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate and dedicate the entire month of February to black history.

Follow along as Sheen Magazine shares black history facts throughout the entire month! Every day, we will share little-known facts, celebrate those who played made their mark in history, and historic moments and events throughout our nation.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25th, 1942. She is the fourth of five children to Baptist preacher, Reverend Clarence La Vaughan Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a gospel singer. He parents separated when Aretha was just six-years-old. Four years after that, her mother passed away from a heart attack. The family moved to Detroit, Michigan where her father became a preacher at New Bethel Baptist Church.

Aretha began singing at an early age. She got her start singing in front of her father’s congregation. As a teenager, she was able to record tracks at his church. A few of those songs were released by a small label as the album Songs of Faith in the year 1956. She performed on tour and met gospel greats including Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, and Clara Ward.

Aretha In 1960, Aretha traveled to New York. She was courted by many labels and ended up signing with Columbia Records. They released her album, Aretha in 1961. In 1966, Franklin and her new husband and manager, Ted White decided it was time to move forward with another label. She signed onto Atlantic. It wouldn’t be an Aretha Franklin feature without mentioning one of her all-time classic hits, “Respect.”

In 1967, her album I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) was released, with “Respect” being the first song on the album. The single reached No.1 on both the R&B and pop charts and with this, she won her first two Grammys.

In 1972, Aretha released her album, Amazing Grace which sold over 2 million copies and became the best-selling gospel album during that time. By this time, Franklin had earned herself eight Grammy Awards!

In 1987 Aretha Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During this time she also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Detroit. On top of all that, she released the album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, she won a Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance for her work.

Franklin was invited to sing at Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. In 1994, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Kennedy Center Honors!

We learned on August 12th, 2018 that Aretha Franklin was gravely ill. Just four days later, on August 16th, Aretha Franklin passed away due to pancreatic cancer.

Long live the Queen of Soul!