Aretha Franklin Becomes First Woman Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall of …
The late Aretha Franklin was highly revered as the "Queen of Soul" for her contributions to the music industry as a singer, songwriter and pianist.
However, she was tracked down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after faux concerns surrounding "radicalism," "pro-communism," and black extremism, a report stated.
According to documents obtained by Rolling Stone, between 1967 and 2007, the FBI gathered evidence about the singer using things like "false phone calls, surveillance, infiltration, and highly-placed sources."
Franklin's FBI records were initially requested under the Freedom of Information Act on 17 August 2018, are over 270 pages long, all suggesting apprehension around Franklin, her career, and the other activists and artists she got close with throughout the years.
Rolling Stone also noted that many of the documents were majorly "redacted" and could suggest the retention of other bits that have not been seized for public knowledge.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942, while having a successful career as a singer, her family were also heavily into civil rights activism in the US, and Franklin followed suit.
Franklin was associated with Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, and other social justice members of the time.
These individuals were also of interest to the FBI, and as a result, they tracked Franklin's phone numbers, movements, and her places of residence, the outlet reported.
Alongside the mention of surveillance, the documents also stated that Franklin also had letters and death threats throughout her career.
A letter from 1974 said the following: "Dear Aretha… I'm still in charge of you… I'm not to be crossed…you should be…paying me some of my money…evidently, your advisors do not know the dangers of neglecting what I'm saying…I would hate to drag [your father] into this."
Another menacing letter Franklin got just four months after her father was shot in 1979 said that a man was going to kill her and her family.
Additionally, a document from 1969 discussed funeral plans for Martin Luther King Jr, which was called a "'racial situation."
It further described "Sammy Davis Jr., Aretha Franklin…of this group" were in support of a "militant Black power concept" which they feared would cause "racial disturbance."
Elsewhere, despite the documents related to Franklin's interest by the FBI, her son Kecalf Franklin told Rolling Stone that he didn't know if his mother was aware that the government agency was doing this.
But he did "know that she had absolutely nothing to hide though."
Franklin was most known for songs like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel) A Natural Woman."
Indy100 reached out to the FBI for comment.
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.