What did Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' mean to Metro Detroiters?

Paula Tutman speaks to residents about Aretha Franklin's hit song

DETROIT - When people talk about Aretha Franklin, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is her song, "Respect."

It's been called one of the best songs ever, and Franklin's voice gave the words so much meaning the song has become an anthem.

Local 4's Paula Tutman spoke with Metro Detroiters about what the song means to them.

"Respect is everything," resident Lequetia said. "It's your dignity. It's your pride. It's being able to stand up for what's right and not to just anything."

The song's message transcends just music and lyrics.

Lequetia said when people are long on racism, the song taught her to be short on patience.

"If you can't respect me then I can't deal with it or deal with you," she said.

"At the time when it came out, it meant so much for black people, as a culture, as a society (with) what was going on at the time," a resident said. "It just gave a voice. That's what music does. It gives a voice and an outlet for people, as far as expression and being heard. When she sang 'Respect,' it was for everybody."

For people who have never felt the sting of racism, the song means something else entirely.

"I just think it was a woman to woman song," a woman said. "I loved it."

"She just had soul, you know?" one resident said. "She sang from the bottom of her toes and it just came up out of her. Just amazing."

If someone's heart was being broken, the song might have been a musical warning.

"It's like an anthem for women," Lequetia said. "You know, 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T.'"

The song is an anthem that speaks to people, no matter where they're from or where they're going.

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