On Monday, April 15, Aretha Franklin was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer special award and citation. She is one of the recipients of the prestigious journalism and arts prize for 2019. In its statement, the Pulitzer organization announced, she was awarded the prize, “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”
As Rolling Stone points out, Franklin is among a select group of musicians to receive the Pulitzers’ Special Citation for arts. Among other musicians that won the prize were Rodgers & Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Bob Dylan. The previous musician to win this award was country music legend Hank Williams in 2010, as another posthumous winner.
Universal Music’s udiscovermusic.com site also points out that the prize has traditionally gone to jazz and opera, with Kendrick Lamar being the first non-jazz or classical artist to win the prize in 2018 for his album DAMN.
Aretha Franklin is also the first female solo artist awarded the Pulitzer since the inception of the prize in 1930. The Pulitzer organization also cited Aretha’s site where it is said that she was previously awarded The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, 18 Grammy awards, including a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement and GRAMMY Living Legend award, and Rolling Stone award as “The Greatest Singer Of All Time.”
It was truly a sad moment when Aretha Franklin died from complications of pancreatic cancer in her hometown of Detroit, MI on August 16, 2018.