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Today, iconic Billboard honors the late Queen of Soul, beloved Aretha Franklin in their official tribute issue, also featuring Franklin as the main cover feature. The obituary was written by Associate Professor of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University, Evelyn McDonnell, titled “The Role of Struggle in Aretha Franklin’s Path to Greatness.”

…To say that Franklin was one of the greatest female singers of all time is to miss the point. Aretha — an original one-named diva — was one of the greatest artists, period. Her talent and her impact transcended gender, race, genre and geography. This was a woman who could sing disco, gospel, rock, opera and, of course, soul. In addition to possessing astonishing vocal talent, she was a pianist, songwriter, arranger and performer. She was one of the towering figures whose talents expressed the seismic cultural shifts of a decade of momentous change. The only peer of similar import and impact is Bob Dylan, and I would argue that as the voice of the struggle for equal rights for blacks and for women, Franklin embodied her generation more. Her death on Aug. 16 marks a mighty loss….

For more on Billboard’s Aretha Franklin tribute issue, click here.

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