The controversial book was published by Little, Brown and Company and is said to have been 25 years in the making.
“The Queen of Soul” states that the author is making false claims about her, namely one that claims she was promiscuous in her younger days, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.
With an apparent passion towards legends as subjects for his books, Ritz has penned works using his own name or as a ghost-writer about Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and Willie Nelson.
Franklin, known as someone who fiercely guards her privacy, is now subjected to the author writing about topics such as the early separation of her parents, the challenge of becoming a teenage mother, a string of controlling relationships and multiple bouts with alcoholism, depression and insecurity. Ritz claims to have gotten insight on these topics based on interviews with a chorus of friends, family, associates and peers of the 72-year-old singer.
He even refers to the gospel circuit that Franklin and her father toured during the 50’s as the “Sex Circus,” a sexual free-for-all that involved not only same-sex but hetero couplings too.
Supposedly, songstress Etta James, who also toured with Franklin as a youth, co-signed on Ritz’s allegations in the book about Franklin’s sex drive, and stated, “I can understand Aretha not wanting to talk about that . . . Who wants to admit that you’re praising the Lord at the 8 p.m. service and servicing some drop-dead gorgeous hunk of a singer an hour later? Aretha and I started out before we were teenagers . . . we wanted to experience it all. I wouldn’t use the expression sexually active, I’d say sexually overactive.”
Ritz and Franklin apparently see the intent of the book differently. To the author, it may be a tribute to Franklin’s phenomenal career in a business that can be spiritually, emotionally and physically depleting. But Franklin tells the Detroit News, “There’s a very trashy, trashy book on the street . . . It’s lies, lies, lies and then more lies.” Franklin adds, “I’m talking to a criminal attorney. If this isn’t defamation, I don’t know what would be.”