Aretha Franklin understood civility goes a lot further than hate
I'm not a huge fan of music. Even when stuck in Jersey traffic I'm more likely to be on the phone or just sitting silently going through the next speech, comedy show or broadcast in my head. But that doesn't stop me from recognizing greatness, even in the world of entertainment.
Last week, we did a tribute on Chasing News to one of music's most iconic performers, Aretha Franklin.
I talked about her incredible performances and legendary ability to get along with everyone regardless of their politics.
One of my colleagues asked me what song of her's was my favorite. I said, I'm not a music fan and can only name one song. He seemed taken aback by my response. Doesn't everyone love music? How can you have such a strong opinion of a person without really knowing anything about what made them famous? Here's the bottom line, I don't have to be a music fan, I don't even need to know the names of her hits in order to honor one of the finest entertainers to ever live.
Aretha Franklin was a voice of a generation of people striving for empowerment and equality. She presented herself as a leader not through negative attacks, but instead through community, cooperation and understanding.
Going through the pics of her life and seeing her with Presidents on both side of the aisle
including Donald Trump before he became President at the opening of the Trump International in NYC in 1997, is a sign of a truly inspirational leader. It's the sign of someone who understood progress could come through relationship building and positive interaction with all sides of the political aisle.
Listening to the negative whining from late-night talk show hosts, musicians using concert time to attack the President, million dollar athletes protesting the flag and actors spending time bashing people with who they disagree, had me thinking that all of them should take a page out of Aretha's book.
No one wants to deny a famous person their right to express themselves. But the level of hate and negativity currently on display is counter-productive and is only serving to undermine any message they are trying to push.
Aretha Franklin however did it right and had millions of fans and true respect from all political persuasions. And for some like me, the RESPECT we have for her had nothing to do with her music.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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