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Aretha Franklin wins posthumous Pulitzer prize

HONOURED: Aretha Franklin

LATE SOUL singer Aretha Franklin has received an honorary Pulitzer Prize, as judges celebrated the icon “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”

She has become the 12th musician and first female performer to be given the citation, as she joins the likes of Bob Dylan, John Coltrane and Scott Joplin.

In an interview with The Associated Press Franklin’s niece Sabrina Owens said: “'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.

“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.'

Franklin died less than a year ago of advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 76 years old.

Her death sparked countless tributes to the late star, with the likes of Barack Obama. Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Ariana Grande honouring the 18-time Grammy Award winner.

Following her death, Michelle Obama wrote a heartfelt note in memory of Franklin, where she said: “Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience.

“In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”


Franklin was no stranger to making history. The star became the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was rated by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest singer of all time.

The Pulitzer Prize decision to award Franklin with this posthumous honour shows there desire to push the boundaries. Last year, Kendrick Lamar took home the prize in music for his third studio album Damn, making it the first time a non-classic or jazz artist won in the category.

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