'An Incredible Force, a Trailblazer': Harvey Levin Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin
TMZ founder and host of Fox News Channel's "OBJECTified" Harvey Levin called in to "America's Newsroom" on Thursday to react to the passing of Aretha Franklin.
Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" whose recordings of such classics as "Respect" and "Chain of Fools" made her the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.
"She was just revered, not just by the public but by musicians," Levin said. "But the thing that I think can't be forgotten is Aretha Franklin was a trailblazer really in civil rights."
He explained that back in the 1960s, many African-American entertainers didn't have opportunities on mainstream radio and at nightclubs, and she was one of several performers who helped break down that barrier.
"Her influence goes beyond even music. She was an incredible force," Levin said.
He said she was aware of her power and influence, and she embraced it without ever abusing it.
Levin said he's spoken to countless musicians and entertainers over the years, and Franklin was universally respected.
"That word 'queen' is always used. And the only controversy with Aretha Franklin is her best song," he said.
"Her music is literally the soundtrack of my life. ... And believe me, I was not the only one."
Watch the segment above and see full coverage of Aretha Frankin's death, here.