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Undeniably, Aretha Franklin is one of the fiercest iconic music legends of all time. Her reign as the Queen of Soul changed the landscape of popular music entirely as her golden voice influenced a shift within the industry and beyond. The news of her passing Thursday morning at the age of 76 is heartbreaking, as her allyship and advocacy to the LGBTQ community has been steadfast and unwavering.

Since emerging into the music industry in the late 60s, she has been nothing but a powerhouse of representation for the intersectionality of women and people of color, and fully embraced gay culture. Through her music, she promoted messages of strength, pride, and confidence while simultaneously influencing progress and change. Songs like “Respect” and “(PRIDE) A Deeper Love” became anthems to LGBTQ people, and have been endlessly affirming and supportive to those who greatly needed those messages of hope.

With an outpouring of love, memories, and mourning splattered all over social media, this loss is a hard reminder of the importance of being true to oneself and demanding equality. Thank you, Queen Franklin, for being the voice of so many generations!