More accolades and awards were likely to come for Aretha Franklin after her death on Thursday. The musical icon, known befittingly as the Queen of Soul, was being posthumously considered for a Congressional Gold Medal.
“Aretha was simply a legend,” California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris said in a release revealing the Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act on Tuesday. “Her work and impact will be felt for generations to come, and it’s long past time Congress honor her with the Congressional Gold Medal.”
Harris is one of several Congress members — also including Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence as well as Georgia Republican Rep. Doug Collins — who have introduced the bipartisan bill in celebration of Franklin’s cultural and artistic achievements. The bill makes it clear that Franklin has earned her R-E-S-P-E-C-T, having made a difference in millions of lives across the world.
Harris considers herself to be a big fan of Franklin whose music has followed her since her formative years.
“From listening to Mary Don’t You Weep, to standing in the living room dancing to Rock Steady over and over again, to hearing from the Queen herself how lucky I was to be young, gifted and black – Aretha’s songs were the soundtrack of my childhood,” Harris said.
The honor for Franklin would be richly deserved, other senators and representatives said.
“I am proud to join Senator Harris in introducing a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to honor an American music legend; Aretha Franklin, for her contributions to American music culture,” Lawrence said. “Aretha Franklin was soul personified and she gave us the gift of her voice, her truth and her unapologetic passion to demand compassion, love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T for women everywhere. An iconic entertainer, powerful civil rights leader, history maker and a beautiful spirit I was privileged to call friend; we honor this Detroit native, the true Queen of Soul. She will be dearly missed, never forgotten and always treasured.”
Franklin’s life will be celebrated during a funeral service on Aug. 31 in Detroit.