The True Story OF A Child Singing In Her Father’s Church’s Choir To Her International Superstardom.


Respect.

Respect | August 13, 2021 (United States) Summary:
Countries: United States, CanadaLanguages: English

‘SPOILER ALERT’

In Detroit, 1950

 

A Young girl named Aretha splits her time between her divorced parents Reverend C.L. Franklin and Barbara

 

she loves singing and loves to sing for all the guests at the family’s house parties

 

Later, Barbara plays the piano, and sings with her

 

tells her to remember, that she doesn’t have to sing for her dad if she doesn’t want to and that her voice is her own not her father’s

 

during one of her father’s parties an adult male guest comes upstairs and shuts the door sexually molesting her

 

Aretha’s grandmother notices her behavior is strange and asks her what is going on with her

 

Aretha won’t tell but her grandmother tells her if she can’t say it to anyone she can always say it to god

 

Later the family receives the upsetting news that Barbara has died

 

Aretha is devastated stops singing and even speaking altogether

 

At her birthday party she won’t even blow out the candles

 

Her father is frustrated and gives up not knowing what to do with her

 

James Cleveland a family friend and leader of the church choir

 

encourages Aretha that music will always save her

 

she agrees to tour with her father’s sermons, and sing

 

In 1958, Aretha is singing in Birmingham working with the civil rights groups in America

 

Doctor Martin Luther King Jr a friend of the family

 

praises Aretha and invites her to do more work but she returns back to Detroit with her father where her grandmother is watching her two kids

 

which she had a result of the sexual assaults

 

At a house party

 

Ted White a local producer makes eyes at Aretha who is attracted to him

 

C.L. threatens Ted to stay away from his daughter and calls him the N word

 

he then surprises Aretha with tickets to New York to meet about a record deal

 

In New York City

 

she and her father, meet with John Hammond at Columbia Records

 

who offers Aretha a recording contract

 

By 1960

 

Aretha is still making music, but has never had a hit song

 

She continues making albums

 

after three years

 

she is performing at a show where a family friend singer Dinah Washington is in the audience

 

Aretha starts singing one of Dinah’s song in tribute

 

Dinah gets so offended she flips her table over

 

She meets with Aretha afterward who is lamenting that she doesn’t have any hits

 

Dinah tells her it’s because her dad keeps picking songs that she doesn’t believe in and she needs to record

 

that music that she believes in

 

Aretha remembers the trauma of her sexual assaults and sleeps in late

 

She arrives for her recording session an hour late

 

Hammond is just relieved, to find Aretha, but C.L. Franklin is furious with her

 

This leads to an argument between him and his doughter

 

where Aretha says

 

that she doesn’t want to sing the songs that he picks

 

because he doesn’t pick any hits and he slaps her in the face

 

He tells Hammond in front of everyone that Aretha has carried this darkness with her since she was a child

 

Later, Aretha runs into Ted again

 

He makes it clear that he is interested in her

 

asks her to sing for him

 

The two begin seeing each other

 

one morning at Ted’s place

 

Aretha sees that he has all her albums

 

He tells her believes he can manage her into making actual hits

 

Eventually, Aretha brings him home to meet her family

 

her sisters are shocked knowing how their father will react When he sees Ted

 

C.L. pulls a gun on him until his mother calms him down

 

Aretha tells them not only are they together but she wants Ted to manage her

 

She tells her father it’s what needs to happen and he tells her she will come begging for him to take her back

 

By 1966

 

Aretha has been dropped by her record company, and is married to, and has a child with Ted

 

who is beating up club owners, to get the money he is owed

 

Ted gets Aretha a meeting with Ted Wexler at Atlantic Records

 

Wexler wants to finally give her a hit record recommends she work with some southern musicians that he knows in Alabama

 

Ted who is an aggressive manager

 

is furious

 

wanting Aretha to only record in New York, but Wexler promises the musicians are the real deal

 

In 1967

 

Aretha and Ted go to Alabama to record

 

Ted is angry that the musicians, are all white and refuses to record

 

but eventually, he eases in  to letting Aretha record, “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You”

 

That night, at the motel

 

Ted tells her they will not return in the morning

 

The manager of the studio comes by to try to make peace with Ted but Ted hears none of it and eventually goads the manager into a physical altercation

 

Afterward, Ted turns his ire onto Aretha who he assaults

 

Aretha leaves the recording and leaves Ted

 

returns how to Detroit with a black eye where her family takes her in

 

Wexler tries to find Aretha but he can’t

 

Walking down the street they hear Aretha’s song on the radio

 

she reaches out to Wexler

 

tells her she’s ready to keep recording and hires her sisters as her backup singers

 

Ted returns to Aretha

 

apologizes and takes him back, but afterward Aretha’s sisters warn her not to

 

They remind her that her parents fought all the time

 

Late one night

 

Aretha plays the piano and plays around with re-arranging the song “Respect”

 

Her sisters help her work out the song, which they eventually play for Wexler

 

Respect is a massive hit and by 1968, Aretha is selling out Madison Square Garden

 

she has become a huge success and has many hits and is famous worldwide

 

Aretha tells Ted that she has agreed to perform at a benefit show for her father

 

but he says has meetings lined up for her

 

When Aretha refuses

 

Ted physically assaults her in a hotel elevator and she flees in the lobby

 

she and Ted go in for a meeting with Wexler and the whole company

 

including tour manager Ken Cunningham

 

who are so excited that they have dates lined up for a European tour for her

 

Ted is irate and says they refuse to do a tour

 

and wants Aretha to do movies even getting in Wexler’s face but when they tell them how much the tour will be worth

 

Ted relents and they begin the tour

 

In Amsterdam

 

the press asks Aretha about the article about her in Time magazine which has witnesses saying that they saw Ted assault her in the hotel

 

Ted is furious  saying he will sue the magazine

 

but Aretha angrily asks him how he could do that since the article is true

 

This leads to a vicious argument between the two where Aretha demands better treatment from him

 

but eventually, she says she’s had enough and kicks Ted out for good

 

she Needing comfort so she calls Ken

 

he comes to her side and the two begin a romantic relationship

 

Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated  devastating Aretha and her entire circle

 

Aretha sings at his funeral and afterward sits at the bar with C.L.

 

who picks a fight with her, when she says she supports a more radical approach to civil rights like the kind Angela Davis has taken on

 

he accuses her of not walking in the spirit

 

she goes on to publicly voice support for Davis in the press

 

By 1970

 

Aretha and Ken are together and have their own child in a massive mansion in Los Angeles

 

When her crew tries to lessen her tour schedule since Aretha has a habit of missing shows

 

They think she has been drinking too much, and giving in to her “demons”

 

Aretha viciously lashes out at all of them

 

including her own sisters

 

telling everyone she pays for all of them and they all need her

 

she shows up to a concert drunk and falls off the front of the stage

 

Ken tells her he can’t do this anymore

 

Aretha begins drinking herself into a stupor alone until she sees a vision of Barbara who holds her and sings “amazing grace”

 

The next day

 

Aretha begins sobering up and reconciles with Ken

 

In 1972

 

she goes to Wexler tells him she wants to make her next album a gospel album

 

He isn’t sure about it

 

but ultimately comes around to supporting her

 

suggests a camera crew document it to show white audiences about that part of her life

 

The live album is set to be recorded in a church and James Cleveland helps arrange everything

 

During a rehearsal

 

she breaks down in tears and James comforts her

 

She tells him she cannot fall apart like that in front of the cameras

 

James tells her that God will be there, and that God knows what happened to her as a child was not her fault

 

Aretha’s entire family shows up for the recording of her album including her father

 

who apologizes for what he said to her about not walking in the spirit

 

Aretha begins singing that the album went on to be her greatest selling album of all time

 

Finally, The film ends with footage of the real Aretha Franklin.

Respect.

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