Aretha Franklin awarded posthumous Pulitzer prize

The Queen of Soul received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor to mark her contributions to American music and culture.

Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the ‘Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)


On Monday, Aretha Franklin received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor posthumously, an award made even more special because she is the first individual woman to earn the prize since it’s in 1930, NBC News reports.

Franklin’s vast achievements and enduring musical contributions were cited as the reason the Pulitzer board chose the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as the recipient.

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Franklin passed away last Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer at age 76.

Fans missing the Queen of Soul will get to enjoy volumes of her work when National Geographic devotes the third season of its anthology series Genius to her, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Pulitzer-winning playwright and screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks will be the executive producer and showrunner, Deadline Hollywood reports. Clive Davis, longtime Franklin collaborator, and Atlantic Records chairman Craig Kallman will executive produce, according to the news organization. The project is being spearheaded by Brian Grazer of Imagine.

Previous versions of Genius have focused on author Mary  Shelley, Albert Einstein, and Picasso.

The idea for a focus on Franklin emerged after the singer’s death on Aug. 16, with the major sticking point being whether the show would be able to gain access to her musicDeadline Hollywood reported. Involvement by Davis, Kallman and Warner Music Group became integral to making this happen, and producers are now able to use about 80 percent of Franklin’s catalogue, according to the news organization.

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Filming will start this summer and the show will premiere early next year.

Speaking of Pulitzers, Parks won a Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her 2001 play Topdog/Underdog, making her the first Black American woman to read the award. She also was a Pulitzer finalist for her play In the Blood and won a Tony for The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. She also wrote the screenplays for Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Great Debaters.