Courtesy of bet.com
Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin announced this morning that come March 14th 2015, she will take the stage at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark almost two years since performing for a sold-out show there in 2013. This show will happen just before the songstress turns seventy-three years old, and close to fifty years (forty-eight to be exact) after her first R ‘n’ B hit single “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” reach Number One. The legendary soul singer has had quite a nice couple of years recently, being awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Princeton University in 2012 and recently beating an unspecified – but supposedly serious – disease.
Franklin celebrated her defeat of this illness at the end of this summer, when halfway through her benefit concert of City Square at the Winspear Opera House, she told the audience in a hushed voice how she stared death in the eye and did not blink – not for a second. It was yet another sold-out show, and she told everyone in attendance how a few years before, after she’d had a CAT scan, doctors gave her some bad news. This is when Franklin didn’t blink in the face of death, but determinedly beat the unknown disease, confirmed by another CAT scan. “I feel like shouting!” Franklin sang in a voice reminiscent of testifying in church, even raising her right hand for effect. “I feel like jumping! I’m going the distance!”
As for her honorary PhD, Princeton University orator Stephen Oxman had this to say of Franklin at the time, “She pioneered an impeccably bold and fearless, affective and affecting style of performance that calls upon listeners to journey to the depths of her soul and, in so doing, discover their own.” With a resume like Franklin’s – pardon, Dr. Franklin – she is more than deserving of this honor. The soul icon a career history five decades long that includes 223 albums, 21 Grammy awards and was the first woman honored by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin attended the graduation ceremony, adorned in the black robe, cap and gold tassel of Princeton and a smile, to receive the pink doctoral hood from Oxman along with over 2,000 other students and five other honorary doctorate recipients. Fans of Aretha Franklin can start purchasing tickets for the March 2015 NJPAC show, starting at $39.50, this Friday at 10am on NJPAC.org.