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A slew of performances at the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., that aired on CBS Tuesday night paid tribute to a group of honorees that ranged from “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas to Broadway actress and singer Rita Moreno.
But only one performance brought President Barack Obama to tears. And that was before the fur drop.
Singer-songwriter Carole King, 73, was one of the six honorees to receive 2015 Kennedy Center Honors in a year-end gala in the nation’s capital. Among the hundreds of compositions credited to her is 1967’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” a single co-written by King and made famous by soul singer Aretha Franklin.
Tuesday night, Franklin took the stage and sang what has become a staple for the Queen of Soul. From the moment Franklin appeared on stage in a floor-length fur coat, it was a master class in how to be a diva.
Franklin commanded the piano.
King gesticulated wildly in approval.
Not even a minute into the performance, the camera cut to President Obama wiping away a tear. (The soul singer performed at his 2009 inauguration.)
Halfway through the song, Franklin walked away from the piano, still singing.
She dropped her coat, revealing a glittering gown.
The cheering audience rose to its feet before the song even ended in a standing ovation.
In November, the National Portrait Gallery awarded Franklin with a “Portrait of a Nation” prize. PBS NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill sat down with the 73 year old to talk about her storied career.
Video by PBS NewsHour
Franklin said she’s never going to retire.
“That wouldn’t be good, for one, just to go somewhere and sit down and do nothing. Please. No, that’s not moi,” she said.
Joshua Barajas is a senior editor for the PBS NewsHour's Communities Initiative. He also the senior editor and manager of newsletters.
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