Press: Columbia/Legacy Honors the 50th Anniversary of Aretha Franklin’s Pop Recording Career With a Deluxe Box Set

The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has had her share of heartache, celebration and obstacles, including her latest recovery from pancreatic cancer. She is quintessentially the personification of what “soul” would sound like manifested in a  For almost fifty years, Ms. Franklin has ruled what it means to sing “soulfully” and has been the prototype of talent wrapped in spirit and body. (Let’s not forget that she is an accomplished pianist and songwriter.)

The past week has had stories and rumors about the Queen’s biopic on the big screen. Actually, a biopic on Ms. Franklin is way overdue considering how Hollywood loved Ray Charles’ biopic, and the biopics of other male stars. This is the first biopic since Lady Sings the Blues that a biopic centering on a Black female singer has been –and, no, Cadillac Records doesn’t count, and Dreamgirls was fiction.

Ms. Franklin publicly voiced her support for Halle Berry to play her in the film. According to news reports, Ms. Berry was a bit reticent at the thought of playing the legendary Franklin. Some viewed Halle’s concerns as an insult of portraying Franklin as she has appeared to the public in the later part of career –i.e., in odd fashion choices and much larger than Ms. Berry; but then again, what woman doesn’t gain weight in her later years? Others in the industry have suggested Jennifer Hudson, who’s career seems to be gaining speed after her (ahem) weight loss via Weight Watchers. Still, others think that someone with the stellar career of Ms. Franklin deserves a star of Ms. Berry’s Oscar-winning magnitude.

Audiences are eagerly awaiting a Queen of Soul biopic, and let’s just hope they don’t mess it up since films centering on Black women are so few and far between.

The news of Ms. Franklin’s film is perfect timing for other career centered news, specifically, that Columbia is records is releasing a twelve (yes, twelve!) CD set starting with songs from the start of her career in 1960 to later releases.

The 50th anniversary of Aretha Franklin‘s arrival on the popular music scene is set for a major celebration in 2011. Signed to Columbia Records by the legendary John Hammond in the spring of 1960 (soon after her 18th birthday), Aretha released her debut album, Aretha (With The Ray Bryant Combo), on February 27, 1961.  Her coming of age at Columbia as a young artist in New York is one of the great stories in the annals of popular music, and set the stage for her ascendance as the Queen of Soul at Atlantic Records.

TAKE A LOOK: ARETHA FRANKLIN COMPLETE ON COLUMBIA marks the first time that Aretha’s entire Columbia output, including master takes, unissued performances, rare mono mixes and studio conversations, have been preserved in one deluxe 12-disc (11 CDs + DVD) box set.  The package is available for pre-order at in advance of its March 22, 2011, release at all physical and digital retail outlets through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.  The suggested retail price for the box is $169.98.

Songs include:

  • Aretha (with the Ray Bryant Combo) (released February 27, 1961)
  • The Electrifying Aretha Franklin (1962)
  • The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin (1962)
  • Laughing On The Outside (1963)
  • Unforgettable – A Tribute To Dinah Washington (1964)
  • Runnin’ Out Of Fools (1965)
  • Yeah!!! In Person With Her Quartet (in two sequences: the original 1965 album recorded live in the studio with overdubbed applause, followed by a new previously unreleased version without the overdubbed ambience)
  • Tiny Sparrow: The Bobby Scott Sessions (1963)
  • Take A Look: The Clyde Otis Sessions (1964)
  • A Bit of Soul (the full album as it was compiled in 1965, but never released)
  • The Queen In Waiting (includes Aretha’s last seven Columbia recordings which were produced by Bob Johnston, who was noted for his work during this time with Bob Dylan; the disk also features new recordings of Aretha’s songs that Columbia “sweetened” after she left the label)
  • …and more!

Find out more at Aretha

Ciara to Play Aaliyah in Biopic?

According to’s Marquee, Missy Elliott is hoping that a biopic of her friend and colleague Aaliyah will be led by R&B singer Ciara. The producer of some of the songs on Aaliyah’s 1996 hit album “One in a Million” says that she still mourns the loss of her friend from her fatal plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001.

[picappgallerysingle id=”3361322″]

In an interview with MTV, Missy states, “I think it’s hard for Aaliyah to be duplicated, because she had her own lane. But Ciara is an R&B singer who loves to dance, and Aaliyah was that same kinda artist.”

Would Ciara make a good choice as the lead in an Aaliyah biopic, or someone else? You decide!

Leona Lewis attacked at book signing

New school U.K. crooner Leona Lewis was attacked at a book signing in London, according to The Sun and reported by The Young Black and Fabulous (YBF). The unprovoked attacked occurred at a signing for her

recently released autobiography “Dreams” when the attacker –who’d stood in line for over 5 hours– waited until she finished signing, and then punched her in the face when she looked up.

Leona Lewis Signs Copies Of New Book 'Dreams'

Sucker punched and humiliated, the attacker was soon apprehended, and turned out to be Peter Kowalczyk, 29, a rejected contestant from the BBC’s “X-Factor.” Eerily enough, Ms. Lewis was a winner on the show in 2006, and Mr. Kowalczyk was jealous and angry at her success.

According to the BBC News, the attacker is being held according to England’s Mental Health Act at a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.

The three-time Grammy Award nominee’s second album “Echo” is due out in November 2009.

We Are the Girl Movement (W.A.G.)

Remember bomb-girl, Lin Que, or better known as, Isis from the X-Clan? Well she’s revving up an emcee movement of women, including, djs, emcees, dancers, etc.

Their first single is available for only 99¢! (Come on, your Caramel Macchiato probably cost $3.20, where 99¢ can spark a movement!!)

You can find them online at, or  read their blog at

Here’s a personal message from Lin:

The ‘We Are the Girl Movement’ makes history with its first release, “Suga-Coated.” For the first time since the inception of Hip Hop, nine female emcees assault the microphone without any help from their male counterparts. “Suga-Coated” features True School Veterans who have been in the game for quite some time, Underground Royalty as well as Up-and-Coming Talent who are eager to claim their spot in this male-dominated industry. One has no choice but to succumb to the incredible skill and energy exuding from this track. Whoever said, “Female Emcee’s can’t hold their own” obviously hasn’t had the pleasure of sampling the skills portrayed on this banger. In addition to the genuine talent of Mala Reignz, Knewdles, Bless Roxwell, Lin Que, Alana, Paula Perry, Toni Blackman, J-Boo & Tiye Phoenix, is the sultry voice of newcomer Rachel Walker. “Suga-Coated” displays the undeniable talent of women of many ethnicities and cultures.

‘We Are the Girl’ aka WAG was formed to give women in Hip Hop a platform to ‘Follow their Dreams’ and make careers out of what they love doing most. It seems as though women have not been given a fair share within the Hip Hop community. It’s time. We must claim our voice. We must claim our seat at the throne and be the ‘True Queens’ that we were born to be.

‘We Are the Girl’ believes in giving back to the community. All the proceeds from the download of “Suga-Coated” are going to one of the most highly visible and recognized breast cancer charities in America, NBCF. “Suga-Coated” was officially released on October 1st, 2009… just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although October is designated for Breast Cancer Awareness, we all know that it is a day-to-day issue that needs our support. Support Women… Save the Hip Hop Culture… Heal the World.

You can purchase “Suga-Coated” by going to The track is $.99 to download.

If we all chip in, we can make a difference.

‘We Are the Girl’ website:

All DJ’s contact me at We need your support.

For Bookings & Sponsorship, please contact:

Contact: Barb Sherin
Office: 212.308.4180

Best Regards,

Lin Que aka Isis (X Clan)
Founder/Hip Hop Artist