Aretha Franklin First To Be Honored

R&B Legend Aretha Franklin will be the first female artist to receive the Award of Excellence from the United Negro College Fund. The singer will receive the honor at the college fund’s “An Evening of Stars,” airing on TV nationwide in late early next year. Franklin, 64, is being honored for her work with the fund to help students access higher education, as well as for other activism and charity work. Previous honorees include Lou Rawls, Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO, said in a statement that Franklin‘s career “has established a standard of excellence that exemplifies the educational distinction to which our member colleges are dedicated and to which they hold their students.” Franklin became one of the most successful global music stars in the late 1960s, with hits like ‘s ?Respect? and ?I Say A Little Prayer.?

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