All hail the Queen of Soul!
Aretha Franklin, the legendary singer whose influence knows no bounds and whose accolades would topple any mantel, is coming to Brooklyn. Twice.
In his biggest coup since succeeding Howie Golden, Borough President Markowitz is hosting the queen bee this month at both of his free summer concert series — first on Aug. 9 at Wingate Field in Crown Heights, and then again on Aug. 12 at Asser Levy Seaside Park in Coney Island.
“What voice in American music is more powerful, more soulful, more joyful than Aretha Franklin’s?” said Markowitz, who’s been trying for 20 years to nab the vocalist. “I know I speak for all Brooklynites when I say we’re thrilled to welcome the Queen of Soul to the County of Kings. This summer, Brooklyn spells ‘respect’ A-R-E-T-H-A!”
The shows comprise Franklin’s first performances in Brooklyn ever, pulling from a 40-year catalogue that includes such hits as “A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” and, of course, “Respect.” In an interview with the New York Times, she hinted at even rocking some hip-hop (looks like her 1998 album “A Rose I Still A Rose,” with tracks by Lauryn Hill and Sean “Diddy” Combs,” made a lasting impact).
The 66-year-old soul singer certainly commands the oft-cited R word. Since scoring her first hit in 1967 with “I Never Loved a Man” on Atlantic Records, Franklin has won 18 Grammys, became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and performed at two presidential inaugurations.
Those two shows were for the last two Democratic commanders in chief, but the GOP certainly adores Franklin, too. After all, President Bush gave Franklin our nation’s highest honor — a Presidential Medal of Freedom — in 2005.
Now that’s respect.
Aretha Franklin at Wingate Field [Brooklyn Avenue between Rutland Road and Winthrop Street in Crown Heights, (718) 222-0600], Aug. 9 at 7:30 pm, and Asser Levy Seaside Park [W. Fifth Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island, (718) 222-0600], Aug. 12 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.brooklynconcerts.com.