Aretha Franklin celebrated her birthday in style Sunday at a star-studded affair at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Manhattan. Friends at the intimate celebration hailed the “Queen of Soul” as she turns 73 this week.
Guests at the party included music mogul Clive Davis, the Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Charlie Rangel, filmmaker Lee Daniels, Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison, Valerie Simpson, Freddie Jackson and journalists Tamron Hall and Don Lemon.
The evening’s entertainment included a jazz performance by members of the Dizzy Gillespie Band. R&B singer Avery Sunshine also took the stage, singing Franklin’s hits as well as music from her own library.
Franklin has been touring since the release of her latest album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics,” last year. She recently performed at packed concerts at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
Earlier this month, Franklin was featured as a mentor for aspiring singers on “American Idol.” She also performed songs from her latest album on the show.
Photos by Cyril Josh Barker