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by Meg at . Comments
aretha franklin clears june concerts

Aretha Franklin recently cancelled two May concert engagements and has now been forced to clear her June performance schedule in order to undergo unspecified medical treatment.

The 71-year-old singer initially pulled out of a May 20th Chicago gig and a planned event slated for May 26th at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.

Franklin's publicist notified three additional show promoters that health issues have forced the singing star to clear her calender for the entire month of June.  A Michigan engagement and two Canadian performances have now been cancelled -- including a June 26th headliner appearance at the Ottawa Jazz Festival.

Festival director Catherine O'Grady made this announcement: "We are incredibly disappointed.  I've been working on this deal for a very, very long time.  It's doctor's orders, she's really not well."

The icon last took an extended break from performing in late 2010 when she underwent a medical procedure that her doctor claimed would add 15-20 years to her life.  She dropped 85 pounds following surgery that she later acknowledged did facilitate the weight loss but "was not a gastric bypass procedure."

One gig that the Queen of Soul did keep last week, via satellite, was for the season finale of 'American Idol,' where she performed a medley of her hits with the Top 5 contestants providing backup vocals.

Check it out below:

 Photo:  Dominic Chan-WENN

by Meg at . Comments
aunt ree pays tribute to nippy

Aretha Franklin was a no-show at the funeral for her goddaughter Whitney Houston on Saturday, but took the opportunity that night to remember 'Nippy' during her Radio City Music Hall engagement.

Franklin was planning to sing during the Home Going ceremony at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark but begged off Saturday morning because she was experiencing foot and leg spasms after her Friday night Radio City concert.

Aunt Ree sent her best wishes to the Houston family and told them that she needed to rest up for her evening performance.

When Aretha hit the stage last night she honored Whitney with a special tribute.  Check it out on video below:

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by Meg at . Comments
aretha franklin and will wilkerson recent photo

Aretha Franklin announced three weeks ago that she and her "forever friend" William Wilkerson would wed this summer.  A new statement indicates the planned nuptials will not take place.

The press release said, "Regretfully, To Our Friends and Supporters: Will and I have decided we were moving a little too fast, and there were a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly.  There will be no wedding at this time."

It continued, "We will not comment on it any further because of the very personal and sensitive nature of it.  We appreciate all of the many well wishes from friends."

The Queen of Soul has lost a significant amount of weight since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in early 2011.

Aretha Franklin Then and Now Gallery

Photo:  WENN

by Meg at . Comments
aretha franklin engaged to willie wilkerson

Aretha Franklin, 69, announced through her rep that she is engaged to marry her "forever friend" William 'Willie' Wilkerson.

The Queen of Soul lost 85 pounds as a result of a gastric bypass procedure in December 2010.  Doctors talked her into the surgery in light of her failing health caused by morbid obesity - see shocking photos here.

The songstress will wed on Miami Beach in either June or July 2012 and then have a luxury reception aboard a private Yacht.

Showing her sense of humor, Aretha joked in the prepared statement, "No, I'm not pregnant. LOL!"

As for the dress, her rep said, "Ms. Franklin is considering Donna Karan, Valentino or the queen of wedding dresses, Vera Wang, to design her gown."

Check out another red carpet photo of the couple after the jump:

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by Meg at . Comments
aretha franklin sings her way out of a ticket

Aretha Franklin nearly picked up a parking ticket while enjoying dinner at Neely's Barbecue Parlor on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Monday night..

When the Queen of Soul and her entourage of 10 were on their way out to their vehicle after an evening spent in the famous establishment owned by Food Network stars Pat and Gina Neely, Franklin noticed a meter maid preparing to write out a ticket for one of their illegally-parked rides.

The quick thinking diva broke into an impromptu rendition of R-E-S-P-E-C-T and the sufficiently serenaded public employee decided the prudent thing to do would be to ask for an autograph rather than issue a citation.   The parking enforcement officer handed Franklin an envelope for her 'John Henry' and everyone went away happy.

The talented musician recently revealed that she underwent weight loss surgery earlier this year in order to regain her health.

Check out Aretha crooning the iconic song below:

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by Meg at . Comments
aretha franklin weight loss surgery

Rumors are running rampant that the mystery medical procedure that Aretha Franklin had is December was gastric bypass surgery, based upon the fact that the singer has shed 85 lbs. in the past three months.

Franklin, 68, sat down for a two-part interview that will air on Access Hollywood next week.  She gives clues that the surgery she had did help her to lose weight but was vague about exactly what she had done.  She said: "It was definitely not the bariatric or, what is it, gastric by... Yeah, I can't even tell you the correct name for it."

She went on to say: "It's really not necessary to talk about one's personal medical health.  The doctor did say to me: 'Mrs. Franklin, you are going to feel better than you have felt maybe in 10 or 15 years.  The surgery that you had is going to add 15 years to your life.'"

Check out Aretha's startling then and now photos.  Keep in mind, these were taken before the weight loss -- so the comparison was showcasing her weight gain rather than her weight loss.

Check out a recent photo of Aretha below:

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by Meg at . Comments

Condoleezza Rice took the stage last night to accompany the Queen of Soul during a gala fund raising event for 8,000 invited guests, featuring music by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Aretha Franklin sang her repertoire of classics including "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" and "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman".

There was a single duet with Rice, who emerged from the wings, sat down at the piano and began "I Say A Little Prayer".

Afterward, Franklin quipped: "You didn't think she could play it, right?"

Check it out on video below:

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by Meg at . Comments
aretha franklin sings

Aretha Franklin sang My Country, 'Tis Of Thee during the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States.    Decked out in a huge hat, she belted out the song with her usual flair.

As much as we admire her talent, we can't help but think that the hat trumped her music.

Check out her video performance below and more celebrity photos below.  Beyonce serenades Obama's here.

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by Missy at . Comments

Oh, I smell a fight coming on! While introducing Tina Turner at the Grammy's, Beyonce called Tina "the Queen" and Aretha Franklin was not happy. I guess she thinks she is the Queen.

Beyonce's father/manager, Matthew Knowles, is lashing out at Franklin and said "Something this ridiculous - it's childish, it's unprofessional." Matthew also went on to say in his statement, "and it's a sad day when egos get bruised because somebody used the word king, queen, prince or princess."

I wonder how Aretha will feel when Beyonce is introduced as the Queen - I don't see that being so far off in the future. Tina and Beyonce's performance was thrilling.