U.S. Reps. Lawrence and Cohen Introduce Legislation to Award Aretha Franklin with Congressional Gold Medal
Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) and Steve Cohen (TN-09) introduced legislation to posthumously award the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of her outstanding artistic and cultural contributions. The legislation was originally introduced in August 2018 in the wake of Franklin’s passing.
“With her incredible music and incomparable talent, Aretha Franklin broke records and glass ceilings. The Queen of Soul shared her gift with the world and revolutionized our music, culture, and society through the power of her voice,” said Rep. Lawrence. “Aretha loved Detroit. She was Detroit. She never forgot about her hometown and always gave back to the community. I’m proud to work with Congressman Cohen in honoring her life and legacy by introducing the Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act. Let her message continue to ring in the halls of Congress and around the globe, that we all deserve a little respect.”
“Aretha Franklin taught the world what R-E-S-P-E-C-T means and what it was like to feel like a ‘natural woman.’ From her humble origins -- born at 406 Lucy Street in Memphis -- to her consistent place atop the Billboard charts, Aretha Franklin was truly the ‘Queen of Soul.’ I’m pleased to join Congresswoman Lawrence in introducing the Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act,” said Rep. Cohen.
The Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act would honor Franklin’s role in shaping the nation’s culturally and socially relevant discography, and highlight her life as an example of how one person’s talents can make a difference in the lives of millions of people across the globe.
Aretha Franklin’s music served as a 1960s call to action that inspired thousands to join civil rights movements and still maintains a social context that resonates across these movements today. Beyond her contributions to music and arts, Franklin was a philanthropic individual who supported causes related to civil rights, human health, and gender equality, in addition to causes within the creative arts.