aretha franklin’s children

aretha franklin's children

aretha franklin’s children

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aretha franklin’s children

The fourth of five children, Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Baptist preacher Reverend Clarence La Vaughan “C. L.” Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a gospel singer.

Franklin’s parents separated by the time she was six, and four years later her mother succumbed to a heart attack. Guided by C. L.’s preaching assignments, the family relocated to Detroit, Michigan. C. L. eventually landed at New Bethel Baptist Church, where he gained national renown as a preacher.

Franklin’s musical gifts became apparent at an early age. Largely self-taught, she was regarded as a child prodigy. A gifted pianist with a powerful voice, Franklin got her start singing in front of her father’s congregation.By the age of 14, she had recorded some of her earliest tracks at his church, which were released by a small label as the album Songs of Faith in 1956. She also performed with C. L.’s traveling revival show and, while on tour, befriended gospel greats such as Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke and Clara Ward.
At the age of 12, she became a mother for the first time with a son, Clarence. A second child, Edward, followed two years later — with both sons taking her family’s name. Franklin would later have two more sons: Ted White, Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham.
aretha franklin's children
aretha franklin’s children

How many children did Aretha Franklin have and where are they now?

In 1957, aged 14, Aretha had a second child named Edward after his father Edward Jordan. While Aretha was pursuing her career, her grandmother Rachel and sister Erma took turns raising the children.

Her third child, Ted White, Jr, was born in 1964 and is known professionally as Teddy Richards.

Her youngest son, Kecalf Cunningham, was born in 1970 and is the child of her road manager Ken Cunningham.

Clarence Franklin

Aretha first became pregnant at the age of 12, and gave birth to her first child, named Clarence after her father, American Baptist minister CL Franklin, in 1955.

According to biographer David Ritz, the father of her oldest son Clarence was believed to be Donald Burke, a boy from school.

However, it was later reported in one of her handwritten wills, discovered in 2019, that Clarence’s father was actually Edward Jordan – whom she went on to have son Edward with in 1957.

Not much is known about Clarence’s life, but he is said to have had the least musical interest of her four sons. However, he is believed to have written a number of songs, including some recorded by his mother.

It was revealed in her handwritten wills that she had made “special provisions” for Clarence, now in his 60s, who has undisclosed special needs.

Edward Franklin

Edward Franklin was born two years after Clarence when Aretha was 14. His father is a man named Edward Jordan, but that’s all the information made public about him.

Edward Jr. became interested in music at a young age. He had the privilege of performing with his mother on several occasions and even sang at his grandfather’s funeral in 2015. Edward also sang at his mother’s funeral in 2018.

Even though he never pursued a solo career, Aretha had him record a song with her for a Christmas album, “This Christmas, Aretha.”

He also sang some background vocals for Aretha’s 2011 release “A Woman Falling Out Of Love,” in her cover of the gospel song “His Eyes Is On the Sparrow.” When Aretha passed, Edward sang Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” as a musical tribute to her.

The man allegedly had some run-ins with the law. He was also involved in an investigation surrounding arson at his mother’s house in Detroit, but he was never charged.

In 2010, he was beaten by three unknown men at a gas station and had to undergo surgery to fix his injuries.

aretha franklin's children
aretha franklin’s children

Ted White

Aretha got married to her first official husband, a man named Ted White, in 1961. At this time, the renowned musician was 19 years old. Three years after her marriage to Ted, she gave birth to her third son, Ted White Jr. The child grew up mostly in his father’s native Michigan home but would spend weekends and holidays with his mother. Ted, like the brother before him, was named after his father. Aretha’s marriage to Ted did not last long.
The two went their separate ways in 1969 after reports of domestic violence.
Like his brother Edward, Ted is a talented singer and performed with his mother on several occasions. Aretha’s third-born son has had a successful music career with three albums to his name. He is known to most of his fans under his stage name, Teddy Richards.

Kecalf Cunningham

Aretha’s youngest son, Kecalf, was born in 1970 and is the child of her road manager Ken Cunningham.

Now in his 50s, Kecalf is a Christian rapper. He also performed with his mother, with their most famous performance coming at a 2008 concert at the Radio City Music Hall.

His name is an acronym of both his father and mother’s full names.

In March 2021, it was reported that Teddy and Clarence had filed a fourth will that they claim will split their late mother’s $80 million estate among all four children.

After three conflicting handwritten wills were found in Aretha’s Detroit home, a fourth one has now been filed.

Do any of Aretha’s kids work in the music industry today?

In 2019 during the dispute over her wills, The New York Times reported Aretha’s son Teddy played the guitar at her live shows for 25 years, Eddie sang gospel music, and Kecalf is an aspiring Christian rapper. Clarence also reportedly had a musical career, although the article did not say what genre.

Teddy is arguably the most successful musician in the family and has released several albums. As of March 2021, Oprah Daily reports he is hard at work on his next album, Solitaire. In addition to his music, Teddy has worked with the likes of Nellie Furtado, Joe Cocker, and Al Green.

Aretha’s life and legacy are extraordinary, and it’s no wonder why people are invested in learning about her personal life alongside her musical prowess. The Respect biopic starring Jennifer Hudson is the most recent example of the way the world will continue to celebrate her for years to come.

aretha franklin's children
aretha franklin’s children

Family & Personal Life

Aretha Franklin became a mother quite early in life. She gave birth to her first son when she was not even 13. She named him Clarence after her father. Though she never revealed the identity of his father, according to news site Inquisitr, “The father of the child was Donald Burk, a boy she knew from school”. However, in one of her handwritten wills, Franklin had revealed that the father of her first child was Edward Jordan.

Her second son, Edward, was born two years later in 1957 and she named him after his father Edward Jordan. Clarence and Edward were raised by her grandmother and sister, while she pursued her music career.

In 1961, she married Ted White despite objections from her father. Ted was much older to her and the marriage did not work out. Franklin was subjected to domestic violence throughout their marriage and they divorced in 1969.

In 1964, Franklin gave birth to her third son, Ted White, Jr., who is now famously known as Teddy Richards and is a famous musician.

In 1968, her fourth son, Kecalf, was born. His father is Ken Cunningham, Aretha Franklin’s former manager.

In 1978, she married actor Glynn Turman and took care of his three children from his former marriage. The couple divorced in 1984. Franklin later announced her plans to marry Willie Wilkerson, but called it off immediately.

She died of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor on August 16, 2018.

Aretha’s children have followed in their mother’s career footsteps.

A love of music clearly ran in the Franklin family. Per a 2019 piece from The New York Times, her son Teddy played guitar at Aretha’s live shows for 25 years, while Edward sang gospel music, and her eldest, Clarence, reportedly has made music as well.

Franklin’s other son, Kecalf, aspired to be a Christian rapper. There’s not much record of his music, but a 2008 New York Times review indicates that he once performed with Aretha at Radio City Music Hall.

Teddy Richards is likely the most prolific and successful musician in the family. He’s an accomplished guitarist who has performed with Nellie Furtado, Joe Cocker, and Al Green, and has released several solo albums, including 2006’s Gravity. He is currently based in southwest Florida, and at work on a new record, titled Solitaire.

“I’ve evolved from a self-taught guitarist into a producer, engineer and accomplished tunesmith; I truly love music and enjoy the journey that it’s taken me on,” Richards wrote in his bio.

According to Luther Vandross in Respect, Franklin insisted that they record Clarence’s music and have Teddy play guitar during a 1982 session for Get it Right.

When Aretha passed, Edward sang Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” as a musical tribute to her.

Music written or performed by Clarence Franklin is difficult to find record of today.

aretha franklin's children
aretha franklin’s children

Where are Aretha Franklin’s children now?

Some of Aretha’s sons followed their mother’s musical path, while others, well, not so much. For example, Clarence Franklin, the oldest son in Aretha Franklin’s family, is not quite interested in music. While his mother had once mentioned that she would have loved all her sons to appear in a music album, this was never to be.
Aretha’s second born, Edward is not much into music despite being a remarkable singer. The fourth-born, Kecalf, is a Christian rapper and is married to a woman named Kafi. He once performed with his mother in a concert held at the Radio City Music Hall. Aretha’s third son, Teddy White Jr, took after her the most. Teddy is an accomplished singer and has performed with top-notch artists such as Al Green, Joe Cocker, and Nellie Furtado. Additionally, Teddy has several albums to his name, the best-known being Gravity (2006).
While Aretha Franklin’s children might not be as world-famous as their later mother, they have definitely carved out names for themselves. The ones who have chosen to follow careers in music seem to be doing great, a testament to their mother’s inspiration and influence.
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