The late ‘Queen of Soul’ was recognized for her “indelible contribution to American music and culture,” according to The Associated Press.
Dana Canedy, the Pulitzer Prize administrator revealed the 2019 winners at Columbia University’s School of Journalism on April 15.
The majority of Pulitzer Prize awards are given to individuals for major journalistic achievements, while a handful is awarded for musical composition and contributions overall.
Franklin became the first individual female to earn a special citation prize. It was first awarded in 1930, which attests to the power of her music and lyrics.
Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and manager of the Franklin estate, said in a statement to The Associated Press: “Aretha is blessed and highly favored even in death. She’s continued to receive multiple awards — she’s received almost every award imaginable and now to get the Pulitzer Prize, it’s just amazing.
“Aretha continues to bless us with her music,” she added, “and just paving the way for women going forward. It’s thrilling. She would be so happy right now.”
Upon hearing the news, Owen revealed that Franklin’s family weren’t as surprised to hear she was being honoured with a Pulitzer Prize.
“Surprised, but in another way we were not, because that’s just the kind of person Aretha was,” she continued. “She was just very gifted and talented, and the world is still recognizing that,” she said.
Franklin died at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer last year in her Detroit apartment.
The full list of 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners can be found here.
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