Every year around this time, America gets together and pays tribute to the performing artists who have made indelible contributions to culture — the Kennedy Center Honors. Tuesday was the airing of this year’s, the 38th Annual — and the lineup of honored artists was impressive. George Lucas, actress and EGOT winner Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa, Cicely Tyson, and songwriter Carole King — and it was King who received the most impressive honor of the night:
Aretha Franklin — herself a Kennedy Center Honoree from 1994 — took the stage for an amazing performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. And “amazing” isn’t hyperbole, folks — Aretha Franklin made the President of the United States cry.
As for Carole King herself, she couldn’t believe it either — even though King’s song is a signature song for Aretha, this performance was so jaw dropping, this happened:
And lest you didn’t watch the video and thought “oh, they’re going to trot her out, and she’s going to be all old and can’t sing like when Paul McCartney was on SNL40 this year and it’s gonna make me sad”, YOU ARE WRONG. Aretha’s still got every drop of her talent. To watch her go from playing the piano:
To when she takes off her fur coat and belts:
Is a sight to behold. It’s hard to think of anything that could have made this moment any better… well, maybe if she’d worn this, too: