“Give Me My Propers” Aretha Franklin Blocks Screening Of New “Amazing Grace” Documentary

September 8, 2015  |  

Just a few days ago, we were telling you about the long-lost Aretha Franklin documentary that would be seeing the light of day, 43 years since it was recorded.

But pump your brakes.

The Queen of Soul is not here for this Amazing Grace documentary, about her 1972 concert, being screened. And she blocked it this past weekend.

Franklin convinced a judge to stop the screening at the Telluride Film Festival because the doc did not have her written consent.

According to the Associated Press, this is not the first time she’s protested the project. Apparently, Franklin has been fighting against the film for years and was horrified to learn that it would be screened three times at the festival.

“For him to show that film, for him to completely and blatantly ignore me would be terrible,” she said of the film’s producer Alan Elliot.

“For him to do that would encourage other people to do the same thing and have no respect for me.”

Attorneys for the film festival were naturally upset that Franklin blocked the screening so close to its debut. They even argued that based on contracts from 1968, Franklin may have already signed away rights for her concerts being recorded.

Cecil Morris, an attorney said, “There’s a real substantial likelihood that Ms. Franklin does not own the rights to the images in that picture. It is not appropriate at the very last instant, on a Friday afternoon before a 7:30 showing to seek this remedy.”

It is possible for the festival to make an appeal. But all three screenings at the festival have already passed.

Franklin issued a statement following the ruling saying, “Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one’s right to own their self-image.”

As much as this might inconvenience and downright suck for the producers of this film and audiences who wanted to see it, all of this should have been sorted out long before they tried to show it at a film festival. The notion of While folks seeking to profit off of a Black image and Black art is nothing new. And if Franklin really does own the rights to these images, she should be the one to control how they are shared and should certainly benefit financially as well.

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