Best of the Archives: Aretha Franklin

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Next month we’re starting a whole new season of shows! Yes, in March! We’re thrilled. While we’re getting ready, we selected four of our favorite past episodes for you to enjoy.

This first one is about one of the greats: Aretha Franklin.

We originally released this episode in August 2018, shortly after Ms. Franklin passed away. A singer, writer, arranger, pianist, performer and more, Ms. Franklin channeled both the difficult and beautiful aspects of American culture to make the songs that have scored our lives.

From her breakout hit “Respect,” to her performance of “Dr. Feelgood” at Fillmore West in San Francisco, to her rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, she left a legacy of virtuosity and swagger that will live on — both online and off.

  • Respect” (Aretha Franklin, 1967)

  • Respect” (Otis Redding, 1965)

If you’re new to the show, Still Processing is about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music — but also race, the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together. Join Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham as they work it out on Thursdays.

This episode was originally produced by Neena Pathak and edited by Sasha Weiss, with editorial oversight from Lisa Tobin and Samantha Henig. It was updated in 2021 by the producer Diana Nyugen, editor Sara Sarasohn and engineer Marion Lozano. Our theme music is by Kindness. It’s called “World Restart,” from the album “Otherness.

Wesley Morris is a critic at large. He was awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his criticism while at the Boston Globe. He has also worked at Grantland, The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner. @wesley_morris

Jenna Wortham is a staff writer for the Magazine and co-editor of the book “Black Futures.” @jennydeluxe

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