Legendary songstress Aretha Franklin left an indelible mark in the realm of music and even after her death the Queen of Soul is still being awarded for her pivotal contributions. According to Rolling Stone, Franklin was posthumously honored with a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.
The Pulitzer Prize—which was created in 1917—is an award given to trailblazers in journalism and the arts. Franklin’s honor was historic as it was the first time that a woman artist received a Special Citation in Pulitzer’s history. As a recipient of the award, she joins a list of influential music artists who have been given Pulitzer Prize Special Citations in the past including Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, and Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Franklin’s loved ones are grateful that she has received this recognition and believes that it speaks volumes to how she has forever changed the landscape of music. “Aretha is blessed and highly favored even in death. She’s continued to receive multiple awards — she’s received almost every award imaginable and now to get the Pulitzer Prize, it’s just amazing,” her niece Sabrina Owens said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Sentinel. “Aretha continues to bless us with her music and just paving the way for women going forward. It’s thrilling. She would be so happy right now. She was just very gifted and talented, and the world is still recognizing that.”
News about the honor comes weeks after the film Amazing Grace hit theaters. The documentary-style project captures Franklin and the Watts-based New Bethel Baptist Church choir in January 1972. “Amazing Grace is the heart and soul of Aretha Franklin,” Owens told Variety. “This film is authentic and is my aunt to her core. Our family couldn’t be more excited for audiences to experience the genius of her work and spirit through this film.”