Franklin performing at the Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony in 2015, moments before the "fur coat drop"
When Aretha Franklin slid out of her full-length cocoa-colored fur coat mid-performance during the Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony in 2015
, she likely had no idea her thematic gesture would be immortalized in a viral GIF that would go down as a definitive moment in diva history known simply as "the fur coat drop."
That fashion hallmark, though, was not unnatural for the Queen of Soul who over the course of her inspired career publicly donned dozens of fur coats. Which is why it comes as no surprise that the folks over at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have kept a close eye on her extensive collection and are calling upon Franklin's estate to drop fur for good.
The animal rights organization penned an open letter to Franklin's niece Sabrina Garrett Owens, just days before the Franklin's epic 8-hour Detroit funeral on Aug. 31, asking the estate to consider donating her collection.
As the letter states, PETA sends donated furs to refugee camps and homeless shelters abroad and here at home, including a recent sizeable donation of over 100 fur coats to homeless shelters in Detroit The program also converts the coats into bedding for orphaned wildlife cared for by rehabilitation and rescue facilities.
“By donating Aretha Franklin’s fur coats to PETA, her family could expand her legacy of social justice to animals,” PETA Executive President Tracy Reiman said in a press release.
“While we can’t bring back the animals who suffered and died for them, these coats can help others by providing some much-needed warmth to orphaned animals and humans in desperate need.”
In an effort to "clean your closet and clear your conscience" PETA's fur donation program isn't just a call to animal-wearing celebs, anyone can donate. Though the letter states that Franklin's posthumous donation would land her in A-list
company as Anjelica Huston, Mariah Carey, and Mary Tyler Moore have all donated furs through the program.
PETA's senior media officer, Moira Colley, told Metro Times
that they have not yet received a response from Franklin's family.
Read the letter below.
We’re so sorry for the loss of your aunt. The world has lost an amazing talent, and we’re grateful that her music will live on.
Aretha will always be remembered for all that she did to help empower African-American people, especially women, in her lifetime. Might we now call on her estate to help end the cruel era of wearing animal fur by donating her fur coats to PETA, where they’ll go on to offer warmth and comfort to those who need it the most? In the past, we’ve given donated fur coats—some coming from other wonderful women including Anjelica Huston, Mariah Carey, and Mary Tyler Moore—to homeless shelters in the U.S. (including in Detroit) and to displaced refugees in Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Syria.
Designers, brands, and stores are dropping fur as quickly as consumers are ditching it. As faux fur and other cruelty-free, vegan materials take over, real animal fur can be put to good use, and this generous donation would secure Aretha forever as an “Angel” for animals.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let us know if there’s anything that we can do to help you and your family through this difficult time.
Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman, PETA
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