Aretha Franklin has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor posthumously. This makes the “Queen of Soul” the first woman to receive the honor since 1930.
The Pulitzer board said the award was given to Franklin for “her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.” Past recipients include Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, George Gershwin, Ray Bradbury, William Schuman, Milton Babbitt, Scott Joplin, Roger Sessions, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and the executor of her estate, said in an interview: “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. 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.”
When Owens heard the news of the honor, she and the family were “surprised but in another way we were not because that’s just the kind of person Aretha was. She was just very gifted and talented, and the world is still recognizing that.”
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