Aretha Franklin undoubtedly deserves to be remembered as the “Queen of Soul.” The late musical icon, who died following a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2018 at the age of 76, garnered a whopping 18 Emmy Awards in her illustrious career spanning soul, jazz, pop, R&B and blues. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha started singing in the family’s church, working her way up to record deals with Columbia and Atlantic where her unique voice would make songs like “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” gigantic hits. After becoming the first female performer inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Aretha would go on to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for her contribution to American music and culture.
Outside of her music career, Aretha found happiness in her personal life with four sons. She shared two of them, Clarence and Edward Franklin, with her ex Edward Jordan. Her third child, Ted White Jr., was welcomed with her first husband, Ted White. Her fourth son, Kecalf Cunningham Franklin, arrived during her relationship with her road manager Ken Cunningham. Kecalf would provide Aretha with her only grandchildren: Jordan Franklin, Victorie Franklin, and Grace Franklin. Find out all about the grandkids here!
At 26 years old, Jordan Franklin is the oldest of Aretha’s grandchildren. Following in his grandmother and father’s footsteps — Kecalf is a Christian gospel rapper — Jordan has forged his own path in the music industry, releasing the single “Good Intentions” in 2019 and following it up in February with “Smoke in My Lungs”. In July, he collaborated with the late rapper Lito on a track called “Autumn Trees”. Jordan was especially close with Aretha, which was evident in his tribute to her after she passed. “No amount of words can articulate how much you mean to me grandma,” he wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for loving me, thank you for believing in me as much as you did, thank you for ALWAYS putting the family first and showing us the right way to handle success. I’m sad I’m losing my friend today.. but the imprint you left on this world can never be removed.”
Victorie is proving she has the pipes to honor her grandmother at the age of 22, as you can see in the cover songs she posts to her Instagram. At the 2014 BET Honors ceremony, Victorie performed in front of Aretha as a special tribute, singing a rendition of “Take Me To Your King”. Aretha’s death was particularly hard on the young woman, as she wrote on social media in August, “You’ve been gone for 3 years, but it still doesn’t feel real. I miss you so much everyday it breaks my heart. Sometimes it’s hard to push on, but I try to use that energy to drive me to be the best I can for you.” She concluded the heartfelt message, “Hope I’m making you proud and I can’t wait to be reunited with you in heaven.”
What better way to pay tribute to your grandmother than to sing a song at the premiere of Respect. Back in August, Grace, 15, shared the stage with Jennifer Hudson during a rendition of the Aretha’s 1968 song “Ain’t No Way.” “I’m so happy to be here. I’m just so happy for my grandma to be honored in such an amazing way,” Grace said before launching into the song in a video shared by Jennifer at the time. “I’m going to be singing ‘Ain’t No Way’ for y’all. This is my favorite song by my grandma. I hope y’all enjoy it.”Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.