In the 54 years since Franklin released her rendition and reimagining of “Respect” — originally recorded by Otis Redding several years earlier, which offered a much different and hyper-misogynistic view on the topic of, well, respect — we've come a long way in terms of women's rights, but the song and its message remain powerful reminders of the work yet to be done. (Equal pay, anyone?)
Honoring International Women's Day (which, like, doesn't guarantee women the day off and, instead, tasks them with the emotional labor of celebrating themselves) is the reason for the season for the more than two dozen musicians, performers, and vocalists hailing from Franklin's home state who came together to demand a little “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
The Grand Rapids-based Michigan Music Alliance organized an ambitious collaboration between 25 female artists, as well as engineers and producers, throughout the state in cooperation with five Michigan recording studios for an electric, saxophone-heavy, and soulful rendition of Franklin's hit classic.
Vocalists Serita (aka Black Rose) and Sarena Rae teamed up to tackle Franklin's larger than life vocal performance, with a former Franklin collaborator Gayelynn McKinney on drums, as well as performances by Christina Nielsen (Jack & the Bear), Josi Ala, Ingrid Racine, Zoe Cutler, Sami Blosser, BethAnne Kunert, Kaleigh Wilder, Emily Burns, Alice Sun, and others.
The track was released Monday with a video composed of each individual artist's behind-the-scenes recording experience, and the making of will be the subject of an upcoming episode of the Impactually podcast, which will also look at “the musical legacies that are being created by women of Michigan.”
You can watch the Michigan Music Alliance's “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” performance below.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.