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


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


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.


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