Aretha Franklin had a voice so powerful it could bring anyone to tears — even the President of the United States.
In 2015 the Queen of Soul performed at the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, paying tribute to Carole King, who co-wrote one of her biggest hits "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The performance turned into one of Aretha's most memorable as she made a rare appearance at the piano and famously brought President Barak Obama to tears.
After being introduced by Chilina Kennedy, Aretha, who was previously a Kennedy Center honoree in 1994, walked onto the stage, with a diamond-encrusted purse in hand, while draped in a mink coat. As the "Respect" singer made her way to the piano, she was met by a round of applause and a standing Carole, who looked shocked and honored by Aretha's attendance as she watched from the auditorium's balcony.
However, before Aretha could even finish the first verse of her rendition of “A Natural Woman,” President Obama, who has never been shy about expressing his love for Aretha's music, was shown wiping away tears from his eyes. The moment quickly went viral with many viewing the effects of Aretha's performance (Obama wasn't the only audience member wiping tears from their eyes) as a reminder of why she is and forever will be the Queen of Soul.
Aretha's tribute also gifted the Internet with one of its most iconic gifs of her removing her floor-length fur coat (like the boss she was) in the middle of her performance.
Aretha passed away on Thursday (August 16) at her home in Detroit “due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.”
Remember the Queen of Soul and her legacy by listening to iHeartRadio's tribute on the Classic Soul station: