An unauthorized biography on Aretha Franklin is making its rounds and it certainly paints the Queen of Soul in an unflattering light.
For starters, Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, written by David Ritz, alleges that Aretha was abused, depressed, and suffered from addictions all throughout her career.
Just a few tidbits from the book:
Aretha gave birth to a baby boy at age 13.
Aretha fabricated stories about her love life to the media to keep her name in the headlines.
She had such a huge ego that she refused to befriend other women, and was jealous of Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand. She also couldn’t take when Roberta Flack and soul singer Donny Hathaway sang duets together, she didn’t want to be on the same record label as Flack.
She didn’t like Luther Vandross, whom she would only refer to as ‘Vandross’.
She was never a big fan of Whitney Houston, saying: ‘Whitney lacked [her] wisdom and maturity as a recording artist’.
She was addicted to both sex and fried chicken, among other foods.
Not only does the book tell of Aretha’s struggles, but it also alleges her father, Reverend C.L.Franklin, was caught up in a life of sin and debauchery that included orgies with all-male AND all-female church members.
“It was the point where Saturday night merged into Sunday morning and sin met salvation at the crossroads of African American musical culture. High on the Holy Ghost, dancing in the aisles of New Bethel, the saints celebrated the love of Christ. ‘High on wine and weed, the party people celebrated the love of the flesh’.
Ray Charles allegedly ‘saw’ what was going down, and is quoted in the book as saying:
“When it came to pure sex, they were wilder than me – and that’s saying something. In those days I had a thing for orgies, but I had to be the only cat in the room with two or three chicks. The gospel people didn’t think that way. The cats liked it with the cats and the chicks liked it with the chicks and no one minded mixing it up this way or that. I got a kick outta seeing how God’s people were going for it hard and heavy every which way. I was just surprised to see how loose they were.”
We’re not sure how Ray Charles saw what exactly was going on….but we’ll go with it.
There’s so much in this unauthorized biography that we can’t even begin to process it all. If you’d like to pick up Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz — it’s available now.
[via Daily Mail]