1. Aretha Franklin by Ginny Maki

    “R. E. S. P. E. C. T!” It’s almost impossible to not sing along when you hear the mega hit sung by none other than The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. We can’t know exactly what people thought as they heard one of the strongest vocalists of all time spell out a concept that so so few were grasping at the time, but it’s safe to say that Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit became a clarion call for the Civil Rights Movement and sparked feminists into action everywhere. As a black woman demanding reciprocation for her emotional and sexual needs, Aretha’s song and presence came to represent a bolder and more intersectional phase in the fight for equal rights of minorities in the United States. Since the release of “Respect,” Franklin has become one of the best-selling artists of all time, winning 18 Grammy Awards and becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through it all, she has churned out hit after hit, each one celebrating the beauty and strength of women of all races. - Brianne Moore

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