On the basis of Aretha Franklin’s “indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades,” the late vocalist will receive the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. According to the Associated Press, the posthumous award marks Franklin as the entity’s first individual woman to garner the honor.
The “Think” singer’s niece Sabrina Owens shared with the AP that this accolade further solidifies her aunt’s impact and will continue to remind the world of how “gifted and talented” Franklin remains.
“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,” Owens, who manages Franklin’s estate, said. “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.” In the name of keeping her legacy on the forefront, a biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as Franklin will debut in the future.
On August 16, 2018, Franklin died from pancreatic cancer. The 76-year-old’s memorial service was stacked with powerhouse performers and testimonies from her closest friends and family.