Aretha Franklin is not just the "Queen of Soul," but the queen of everything cool and soulful that Michigan has ever produced. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin said in Mark Bego's book, "Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul," that she was a  "Michigan girl at heart." Michigan loved her equally, honoring her with an annual holiday (February 16) beginning in 1968 and naming a Motor City highway after her in 2020 (Lodge Freeway between Livernois and I-94). But did you know the Michigan DNR declared Aretha Franklin's Voice an official state natural resource?

Related: Sneak a Peek Inside Aretha Franklin's Empty Mansion

It's true. According to the fact-checking site Snopes, on Aretha Franklin Day in 1985, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources declared the iconic star's voice one of the state's precious natural resources. Once a 'Natural Resource', always a 'Natural Resource.'

Michigan Made National Headlines For Declaring Franklin a State Natural Resource

Aretha Franklin Tribute Concert
Getty Images

The following day, the news of Franklin's voice being honored by the state of Michigan made headlines and front pages across the nation. It even earned a write-up in Jet Magazine.

The Queen of Soul even touched on the tribute in her book, saying she was "delighted with the idea of making my voice a Natural Resource of Michigan." For many, her incredible live shows will forever resonate, but for me, I will forever remember her performance of America the Beautiful inside the Pontiac Silverdome at 1987's Wrestlemania III (below). It still gives me goosebumps.

So, the next time someone asks where you're from, tell them that one of Michigan's most treasured 'Natural Resources' and chief export is soul, which deserves some R E S P E C T.

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