The Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act Wants To Honor The Queen Of Soul's Legacy

Caroline Burke
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On Aug. 21, Kamala Harris and several other lawmakers introduced the Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bill that represents one of the highest honors available for civilians to receive from the U.S. government. Per Variety, the last entertainer to receive this award was Frank Sinatra in 1997. And according to a tweet by Amelia Frappolli, the White House reporter for GQ, the Senate agreed to the bill with unanimous consent on Wednesday.

Harris introduced the bill with legislative support on Tuesday. She tweeted, "I introduced a bill to award Aretha Franklin with the Congressional Gold Medal yesterday, alongside my colleagues Senator Hatch and Reps. Lawrence and Collins. Aretha was a legend, and it’s long past time Congress honor her work and impact."

A day later, Frappolli tweeted, "The Senate agreed, by unanimous consent, to a resolution (S Res 615) honoring the life of Aretha Franklin."

The bill proposal for Franklin's congressional honor read,

The Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act would honor Franklin’s role in shaping the nation’s culturally and socially relevant discography, and highlight how she was an example to all people in 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.
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Each of the legislators backing the bill's proposal had something special to say about Franklin. Rep. Doug Collins said in the proposal, “Aretha Franklin’s unparalleled impact on the music community will echo through generations. Her voice captured the emotions of our country and left us better in the process.”

Rep. Brenda Lawrence said in the proposal,

I am proud to join Senator Harris in introducing a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to honor an American music legend; Aretha Franklin, for her contributions to American music culture. Aretha Franklin was soul personified and she gave us the gift of her voice, her truth and her unapologetic passion to demand compassion, love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T for women everywhere.
An iconic entertainer, powerful civil rights leader, history maker and a beautiful spirit I was privileged to call friend; we honor this Detroit native, the true Queen of Soul. She will be dearly missed, never forgotten and always treasured.
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Senator Orrin Hatch emphasized Franklin's legacy in the proposal, saying, “Aretha Franklin’s legacy, like her voice, will sing through the generations. Through her talent, she touched the hearts of millions, lifting all of us with songs of hope and humanity. Aretha brought light, laughter, and love to all who would hear. I’m grateful to play a small role in honoring the life of this remarkable artist.”

Franklin's funeral is set to take place on Aug. 31, with notable singers including Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and Jennifer Holliday set to perform at the service.