According to recently declassified documents, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) chased Aretha Franklin for 40 years attempting to link her to extremists and radicals but was finally unable to do so. The report, released at the beginning of September, revealed that the FBI gathered over 270 pages worth of information between 1967 and 2007 which contained complaints from more than a dozen states.
The report obtained by Rolling Stone reveal that the FBI closely monitored the Queen of Soul and her relationships with other artists and activists for four decades. After Aretha Franklin, 76, passed away from a pancreatic tumor in August 2018, the records were requested by the media outlet under the Freedom of Information Act.
Documents Included These Phrases
The collection of records — which included phrases like “militant black power,” “hate America,” “pro-communist,” “race violence,” “black radicals,” and “radical” — highlighted the FBI’s concern for Franklin. Documents show that the FBI tracked her address, phone numbers, and day-to-day activity in an attempt to connect the artist to “extremists.”
The documents also detailed the death threats the musician received.
“I’m not really sure if my mother was aware that she was being targeted by the FBI and followed. I do know that she had absolutely nothing to hide though,” Aretha Franklin’s son Kecalf told Rolling Stone.
What Did the Documents Include?
- The bureau closely monitored her activities, particularly his interactions with Angela Davis and Martin Luther King, Jr. The federal authorities monitored her addresses, phone numbers, daily itinerary and friends, including Sammy Davis, Jr. and other musicians.
Ultimately, the FBI’s attempt to link her to “radical movements” failed.
Other musicians who famously have FBI files include Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, and The Notorious B.I.G.