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A Prayer for Aretha, From All Her Daughters

I was saddened to hear of Aretha Franklin's pancreatic cancer and surgery. I am praying, as are many of her other spiritual daughters, that she will recover and continue to reign as the Queen of Soul.

Although Aretha Franklin has no biological daughters, she has millions of us spiritual ones. We learned to demand respect, tell men to think about what they're trying to do to us, and revel in what it feels like to be a natural woman just by listening to her songs. We rocked steady and went riding on the freeway of love. We learned of the universality of heartbreak when she demanded, "don't play that song," as well as the ephemeral hope within love lost when she promised to knock on her man's door, tap on his window pane, and walk by herself to prove that her love was true. Her songs, and the feeling with which she sang them, told our stories -- what we'd been through or would eventually go through as women. She reminded us and Lauryn Hill that "a rose is still a rose"and that WE still had the power, and then she put all of us and Fantasia "up on game."

If you are a woman, chances are that, at some point in your life, you drew inspiration, strength, or joy from an Aretha Franklin song. For a woman who didn't have daughters, you would have thought she'd been raising girls all her life.

In a way, she did.

Let all of us, Aretha's spiritual daughters, lift her up in prayer.


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