Aretha Franklin, born March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee and dubbed the “Queen of Soul”, has a four octave vocal range and taught herself piano without knowing how to read music, so it’s no wonder she got the reputation of being sassy. She dropped out of high school but managed to obtain not one but two doctorates of music, one from Berklee College of music and Yale University.
Not only does she have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but she’s been inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the first woman ever allowed in) and the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame. From the years 1967- 1974, Aretha Franklin managed to win not one, not five, but ten Grammy awards for her music, only to win another eight in years to come . Johanna Colon, a six year old girl who resides in Knightdale, North Carolina, has been taking dancing lessons for four years at Heathers Dance Studio in her hometown, and recently performed a recital.
She, along with two of her friends, danced to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”, arguably one her of her sassiest and most popular singles that came out in 1967 and is listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the five hundred greatest songs of all time, beating 495 out at spot number five. Surprisingly enough, these girls had never performed to a group this big together, but they didn’t show any nerves or act unprepared in any way, shape or form.
Johanna shook, tapped and danced her way to a standing ovation, a feeling I’m sure Aretha Franklin was quite used too! Her mom said she practiced day and night and aspires to be a professional dancer someday. At only six years old she has the ability to bring out her attitude and personality into her dance routine and that’s a skill anybody in the dance world can tell you is important, so we all know she is on her way. No matter who you ask, this mini- Aretha Franklin has demanded respect and gained it from all four hundred people in this crowd.
For those of us that have participated in events that take on a level or size as big as this recital, we know that all those eyes, lights and cameras can be terrifying, but Johanna, with only six years under her belt, has spent four of those years preparing for moments like this. We know Johanna will make airwaves again soon, and can’t wait for her promising future, which started as the sassy six year old who danced to the queen of soul and kept some of that soul for herself.