Aretha Franklin Just Won A Pulitzer – And You Can Too


Aretha Franklin passed away last year in 2018 however news was just recently released that she is being awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her incredible achievements in music. The late singer, known as the “The Queen of Soul”, was awarded the prize due to her “her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades” as stated by the Pulitzer organization, and she is only the 12th musician to ever receive the renowned award in history. Read on to find out how even YOU can be awarded a Pulitzer for representing excellence in your craft.

Why Aretha Franklin Deserves the Pulitzer Prize

Aretha Franklin is the first female musician to ever win a Pulitzer prize which puts her in a rather elite class of performing artists. The deceased singer broke countless records and boundaries within the music industry during a time where being black and female lead to immediate rejection. Aretha Franklin joins the likes of artists including Scott Joplin, John Coltrane, and Bob Dylan who all have won a Pulitzer prize as well.

While she was alive, Franklin had an amazing career in which she won 18 Grammy’s had 17 top US chart hits, and became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha Franklin passed away of Pancreatic cancer last year in August at only 76 years old. This made the news of her posthumous Pulitzer Prize win exciting, yet shocking to many fans and media spokesmen.

NPR spokesmen Eric Deggans was asked about his thoughts on Franklin winning the prestigious award which he replied: “I’m surprised it’s taken this long” which is the sentiment shared by many long times fans of Aretha Franklin. The award further solidifies Aretha Franklin’s place in American culture and the world at large for just how much of a revolutionary she was.

A Pulitzer Prize Is Not Out of Reach For Any Of Us

The Pulitzer Prize honors excellence in Journalism and The Arts. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded on June 4, 1917, shortly after the death of the founder Joseph Pulitzer who was a newspaper publisher.  Joseph Pulitzer dedicated all of the money in his will to Colombia University so that they could launch a school dedicated to journalism. This is what led to the establishment of the award and why it is so highly regarded today.

Any American can win a Pulitzer award, however, the prestige and honor that they represent make them seem difficult and almost impossible for the ‘average Joe’ to have access to. Pulitzer Prizes are given out each year to select artists, journalists, musicians, and writers who achieve excellence in their field.

To be considered for a Pulitzer Prize, you must pay a $75 entry fee for each category you want to submit your work in. There are 21 award categories in total including Explanatory Reporting, Public Service, Feature Writing, and a lot more.

Once your published work is submitted to the award jury for review, it will go through an examination to see if it qualifies to be nominated for an actual award. Just because you pay to enter your work to the Pulitzer Award jury, you are not guaranteed a nomination or win. 

What Do Pulitzer Prize Winners Win?

In 20 of the 21 categories, the winners receive a $15,000 cash award and a certificate. Only the winner in the Public Service category of the Journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.

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