UNDATED (AP) — Of course, Aretha Franklin is remembered for lifting her voice in song to entertain people. But the Queen of Soul is also being remembered as one who lifted her voice — and pocketbook — to uplift African Americans and fight for racial equality. Franklin was a close confidant of civil rights champion Martin Luther King. She also supported the cause financially, leveraging her wealth to help the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Longtime civil rights leader Joseph Lowery says Franklin, "not only provided the soundtrack for the civil rights movement, Aretha's music transcended race, nationality and religion and helped people from all backgrounds to recognize what they had in common." And when those efforts paid off in the election of the nation's first black president, it was Franklin who was tabbed to sing at Barack Obama's inauguration.



024194-a-114:24-(Gail Mitchell, senior editor, Billboard magazine)-"work through MusiCares"-The Latest: Fans mourning Franklin in Detroit, New York (17 Aug 2018)

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024195-a-0-(Gail Mitchell, senior editor, Billboard magazine)-"the women's movement"-The Latest: Fans mourning Franklin in Detroit, New York (17 Aug 2018)

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UNDATED (AP) — It's her signature song. But for many who grew up during the segregation era, Aretha Franklin's song "Respect" was more than just a hit. It was also a musical call for equality. Franklin recorded her cover of the Otis Redding song on Valentine's Day of 1967 — barely three years after federal legislation was passed that outlawed segregation and secured voting rights for blacks. But conditions for African Americans were still below standard in the areas of police brutality, housing and employment — and a year later, several urban areas would be hit by riots, including Franklin's hometown of Detroit. Former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young says "Respect" was an anthem for those fighting for equality and justice. Said Young, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T. ... That's basically what we wanted." Young also says Franklin was instrumental in keeping the civil rights movement afloat financially. He notes, "Almost every time we needed money, there were two people we could always count on: Aretha Franklin and Harry Belafonte. They would get together and have a concert, and that would put us back on our feet."

Aretha Franklin died yesterday in Detroit of pancreatic cancer. She was 76.



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UNDATED (AP) — Civil rights activist Al Sharpton says he literally grew up listening to Aretha Franklin's music. He says his mom would play the song "Amazing Grace" nonstop in their home in Brooklyn after his father left. Eventually as an adult and civil rights fighter, Sharpton became friends with Franklin. He says she helped Sharpton as he began his organization, the National Action Network. She would call Sharpton for updates on the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, asking about cases like those of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. Sharpton says Franklin's support of civil rights and equality were as valuable as any financial contributions she made. Sharpton says having such a famous person interested in civil rights gave the cause "all the credibility in the world." Notes Sharpton, "others had celebrity, but she had gravity and respect."



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ATLANTA (AP) — R. Kelly is being sued. An Atlanta-area property company has taken the singer to court over the condition of two homes the R&B singer rented. The company says Kelly owes $203,400 for causing what the suit calls "extensive damage" to the homes. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports SB Property Management Global, LLC. Filed the suit on Wednesday. It says one home suffered damage to electric wiring, flooring, and windows — and was missing items including a stove, furniture, ceiling fans and 22 light fixtures. These are the same homes an associate of Kelly's was accused of robbing last year.


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — A three-day Phish music festival in New York state was scuttled by dirty water from torrential rains. Health officials denied the show a permit just as the rock band was about to go onstage for its traditional sound check jam yesterday. The band says in a statement on its website it is "still in shock" at the decision to pull the plug. It said, "Our families are here, our gear is set, our tents are up. We keep waiting for someone to come over and tell us that there is a solution, and that the festival can go on. Unfortunately, it is not possible." The Curveball festival was expected to draw more than 30,000 fans to the Finger Lakes village of Watkins Glen, in central New York, starting today.


BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Looks like Madonna's son David is going to get his wish. He has been on his mom's case to open a soccer academy in Malawi. And now, at the urging of 12-year-old David Banda, she says she will. David is currently at a Portuguese youth academy for budding soccer stars — and Madonna has been following his progress closely. As she lays the groundwork for the Malawian soccer academy, she has been more of a soccer mom than a pop star lately, often posting photos and videos from the sidelines of David's games.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jill Janus, lead singer of the heavy metal band Huntress, is dead. Her family and the band have say she killed herself near Portland, Oregon on Tuesday. She was 43 — and had a long struggle with mental illness. Janus fronted Huntress from the group's inception in Los Angeles in 2009, singing on three full-length albums and on tours with bands including Motorhead and Lamb of God. Huntress founding member Blake Meahl writes on his Facebook page that he and Janus spent nearly a decade together creating a home, having a family and building the band. He adds: "I hope you have found the peace that you couldn't find on this planet."


LOS ANGELES (AP) — "black-ish" creator Kenya Barris jokes that he decided to sign on with Netflix, despite it being a "mom-and-pop shop." While that's stretching the truth a bit, it's no stretch to say that Barris signing with Netflix is a big deal. He has become the latest big-name TV creator to jump from broadcast and cable to the streaming platform. Among other producers who have made Netflix deals are Shonda Rhimes, creator of ABC hits "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," and Ryan Murphy of FX series including "American Horror Story."


NEW YORK (AP) — You've probably said it yourself — and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Pete Davidson agrees: he's the "luckiest guy in the world" after being engaged to Ariana Grande. The comedian opens up about their relationship in the upcoming issue of GQ magazine. He says he told Grande the day he met her that he'd marry her tomorrow. He says she called his bluff — and he sent a photo of engagement rings. Grande responded that those were her favorites — and before long, well, you know the rest of the story. Davidson says they so far as they set up house together, they have six bean bags, but no forks.

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

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