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Bridge Philanthropic Consulting Honors the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin’s Passion for Social Justice Deserves, ‘Respect’

In the progressive movement towards social change, respect is a concept that demands to be reciprocated. Similarly, that is what Aretha Franklin– the Queen of Soul– preached through her song “Respect.” From the groundbreaking Civil Rights Movement to the empowering Black Lives Matter, Aretha Franklin has become an intergenerational figure of social impact and generosity through her incomparable voice, a voice she has left for the community. While the world knows Franklin was in a class of her own as a vocalist and songwriter, this paper highlights and celebrates her as an exemplary philanthropist.  

Manhattan-based Bridge Philanthropic Consulting (BPC) presents this Iconic Impact Series paper on Franklin’s life, work, and philanthropy with the Special Introduction written by two authorities on Black music and culture, H. Beecher Hicks III, CEO, National Museum of African American Music and Robin Terry, Chairman and CEO, Motown Museum. 

In their introduction, they remind us how Aretha Franklin’s life can inspire what we can do to give back and to persevere through the tribulations that come to us.

The is authored by BPC senior executives Dwayne Ashley, Tashion Macon, Ph.D., Sylvia White, and Jennifer Jiles.  

Franklin’s life was deeply rooted in proactive values as her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, became a prime example of fighting for civil rights. C.L. Franklin was a well-known activist-pastor who led New Bethel Baptist Church. His work heavily influenced Aretha as she grew up at the pinnacle of the civil rights movement.

Growing up, she sang gospel and even participated in New Bethel Baptist Church’s gospel caravan and eventually shifted into secular music. With this, she released the 18-Grammy award-winning song “Respect,” which became the anthem of the movement. Even as Franklin’s popularity grew, she continued putting herself at the forefront of the movement by providing time and money to support the community alongside donating to multiple charities.   

“While often not given credit, people of color have been leaders in philanthropy, not only providing generous monetary contributions but also innovating ways to empower worthwhile causes,” said Dwayne Ashley, CEO, BPC. “Aretha Franklin’s life and work exemplified how one person can use their philanthropy to influence change for generations to come.”

Franklin’s legacy continues to live on as depicted in the remarkable 2021 biopic film, “RESPECT,” starring Jennifer Hudson as the iconic singer. The film honors Franklin in her vital role in the music industry and the rights of the Black community. Franklin’s vocal prowess, creativity, humanity, and impact were depicted by actor Jennifer Hudson.    

“Aretha Franklin’s life was a moment and she ensured it was a time to show up beyond the stage and give back. Her generosity and commitment to social change present an element of validation to all of us,” said Tashion Macon, Ph.D., BPC Senior Vice President of Marketing and Social Impact Strategy, Culturalist, and one of the authors of Aretha Franklin “Respect.”   The Iconic Impact Initiative series is part of Circa64, BPC’s Social Justice Practice. It was created by BPC to explore the historical nature of multi-cultural philanthropy and modern-day leaders of color who have built a foundation of giving —from ordinary individuals to the most famous pop-culture icons like Franklin. 

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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