Happy Birthday to Essence Festival Power Award Winner, Aretha Franklin
Michael Rowe

The Queen of Soul turns 72 today!

In 2012, Aretha Franklin, who had only graced the Essence Festival twice before in 1995 and 2005, became the first-ever recipient of the Essence Festival Power Award, given in step with event’s theme that year to honor “The Power of Our Voice.” 

And her 2012 comeback was massive. Donning a flowy orange number before changing into a sparkling sea green piece, Franklin came on stage, belting out all of your favorites, including “Chain of Fools,” “Natural Woman,” and “Something He Can Feel.”

Here’s one of the most memorable moments from her epic 90-minute Superdome performance: An “I Will Always Love You” tribute to Whitney Houston.

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