‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin gravely ill

Singer Aretha Franklin, a multiple Grammy Award-winner whose legacy stretches back decades, is gravely ill. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2018
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‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin gravely ill

  • Singer Aretha Franklin, a multiple Grammy Award-winner whose legacy stretches back decades, is gravely ill
  • Franklin, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, last performed in November 2017

CHICAGO: Singer Aretha Franklin, a multiple Grammy Award-winner whose legacy stretches back decades, is gravely ill and surrounded by relatives, a reporter and family friend wrote on his website Monday.
The 76 year-old “Queen of Soul” Franklin, known for hits such as “Respect” (1967) and “I Say a Little Prayer” (1968), “is gravely ill in Detroit. The family is asking for prayers and privacy,” wrote Roger Friedman on the Showbiz 411 website.
Franklin, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, last performed in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York. Her final public performance was in Philadelphia in August 2017.
“It was a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration,” Friedman wrote, describing the Philadelphia performance.
Throughout her lengthy career Franklin accumulated 18 Grammy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement.
Franklin’s hits include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1968), “Day Dreaming” (1972), “Jump to It” (1982), “Freeway of Love” (1985) and “A Rose Is Still a Rose,” (1998).
In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2005, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest award for an American civilian – by then-president George W. Bush.
In January 2009, Franklin sang at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.


Kyrgyz singer receives death threats over feminist video

Updated 21 September 2018
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Kyrgyz singer receives death threats over feminist video

  • Zere Asylbek’s music video ‘Kyz’ became a sensation in the Central Asian country following its release last week
  • In the video Asylbek sings that ‘a time will come when nobody will tell me: Don’t wear it, don’t do it’

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: A 19-year-old singer in Kyrgyzstan has filed a complaint with police after receiving death threats over a music video she released targeting gender discrimination in the ex-Soviet republic.
Zere Asylbek’s music video “Kyz” became a sensation in the Central Asian country following its release last week but has angered conservatives who say it insults national values, focusing on the singer’s visible underwear.
Asylbek said that she had filed reports with police in the capital Bishkek after receiving numerous threats of physical violence including several death threats.
One threat posted by an anonymous Facebook profile to a group on the social media platform threatened to kill her if the video was not deleted.
Another user whose post Asylbek sent as a screenshot to AFP wrote that they “would gladly join” the first commentator, and “rip your head off.”
“Kyz,” which means girl in the Kyrgyz language had had more than 217,000 views on YouTube by Friday and is Asylbek’s first released song.
Asylbek said on Thursday that the video’s main message was to “respect the person you really are” while also “respecting the choices, opinions and ways of life of others.”
The video features Asylbek dressed in a suit jacket and skirt with a purple bra underneath, a woman wearing a hijab, a woman wearing a Kyrgzy-style headscarf and a woman with a partly shaved head, showing Kyrgyz society’s diversity.
In the video Asylbek sings that “a time will come when nobody will tell me: Don’t wear it, don’t do it.”
She also calls on the other women featured in the clip to “join me, create our own freedom.”
Asylbek said that she had expected her choice of different women representing different facets of society to be understood as provocative but was surprised at the online attention devoted to her purple bra.
In a Facebook post her father Asylbek Zhoodonbekov voiced support, calling his daughter “a free-thinking daughter of a free Kyrgyzstan.”
He said she had grown more politically conscious after a recent incident in which a man killed a young woman in a police station after attempting to abduct her for a forced marriage.
The murder in May sparked protests in Kyrgyzstan, a poor, majority-Muslim country where thousands of women are kidnapped for marriage every year in a practice dating back to the country’s nomadic past while law enforcement is accused of ignoring the problem.