January 31st, 2009
03:13 PM ET
4 years ago

People: Smithsonian requests Aretha's hat

Aretha Franklin performed at Obama's inauguration.

Aretha Franklin performed at Obama's inauguration.

Michelle Obama’s now-famous Jason Wu gown isn’t the only piece of Inaugural fashion that is headed for the Smithsonian. The museum is also requesting the now-iconic hat that Aretha Franklin wore while singing at the swearing-in.

Aretha, however, is still undecided about parting with her Luke Song-designed hat. “I am considering it. It would be hard to part with my chapeau since it was such a crowning moment in history,” says the Queen of Soul.

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Filed under: Inauguration • Popular Posts
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. tiff of Lithia Springs


    January 31, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Simmy

    Props to you Lady Soul! You outshined B and M. It would be a wonderful tribute to this historic time if you allowed it to be displayed. But I understand the significance of treasuring the unforgettable event. Bless you.

    January 31, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Kathy in Florida

    This hat should be sent straight to the dumpster. It is beyond UGLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. William A. Schaedler from St. Louis

    Isn't there enough junk in the place? Must this be included? I think she ought to auction the hat off to the highest bidder. I understand she owes some back taxes. This might help.

    January 31, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. chris ludlow

    i hope she does. her performance was one of the most beautiful renditions EVER. it was aretha who brought a tear to my eye that day.

    January 31, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. David Ferguson

    I like that hat.....

    January 31, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Jacque Bauer

    Uh, I don't really see the historic significance of this. How about the shorts I was wearing while watching?

    January 31, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Buckeye

    Here's a funny and true story about that hat. My 3 year old granddaughter, Sarah, was watching the inauguration in Columbus with her mother and when Aretha began singing, she excitedly said: "There she is! That's the Statue of Liberty! But she is not holding her candle."
    Out of the mouth of babes!

    January 31, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Carmen Brown

    Yes, Aretha Franklin's hat should be in the Smithsonian. Is it a pretty hat? No! Is it a queenly hat? Yes!

    I am a Scotch/French/English/Irish-American woman and rarely wear a hat. But when I do I wear a big hat and feel rich and regal and womanly. Someone at the Smithsonian may understand this feeling and wisely wants to salute the generations of African-American women who, despite trials and tribulations proudly claim their richness and regalness and womanliness by wearing eye-stopping hats. God love them and more power to them. They give me the courage to do it, too.

    January 31, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Lisa

    I love you Aretha...but that is one seriously unattractive hat!

    January 31, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. MillionMan

    Give it up for your country!

    January 31, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Dorothy Traver

    Love the hat, Love the woman

    January 31, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. michael

    Give it up for history Aretha. You can buy another one any day that you'd like. Remember that it goes to the highest bidder.

    January 31, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Annoyed in AZ

    Give me a break. The hat has nothing to do with the history made that day, other then maybe the worst hat in history

    January 31, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. AP

    It's just a thing – ya can't take it with you and you probably paid too much for it so you may as well get your money's worth and give it up for history's sake.

    January 31, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Pat

    I love this hat! It may be the most stylish part of that whole day.

    January 31, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. Lee

    It isn't a hat..... it's a crown! A well-deserved crown.

    January 31, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Stacie

    That hat was SOoooo ugly that I couldn't even pay attention to what she was singing!! She looked like a fool wearing it! It didn't cover her ears so there's no way it was keeping her warm. I actually felt SORRY for her that somebody didn't say to her, "Aretha, you look like a fool. Now get that hat off before America and the world see you!!"

    January 31, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. kariva

    The Smithsonian collects based on historical significance and impact on societey, not on whether or not something is attractive. She should consider leaving it in her final testament if they want it.
    That is how we avaoid on group declaring their taste as good over those who may differ.
    They have been know to pay for things to add to their collections.
    besdies, where is she going to wear it now?

    January 31, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Sharon - NC

    The Smithsonian should tell Aretha she has 2 hours to decide, and then after that, they don't care about her hat. Not sure why they care about it anyway.

    January 31, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Steve Tucker

    Nice Hat Aretha

    January 31, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. phoenixxknights

    the hat is as beautiful as the woman under it. and being able to show it to members of your family in the future and telling them of the historical day is not only monumental but heartwarming so take your time and choose right because once it's gone there is no getting it back

    January 31, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. Mary

    I would look like a clown in it but it was perfect for Aretha Franklin. I loved her at the inauguration! Smithsonian is a perfect place for it. It was so distinctive.

    January 31, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Love Thy Hat

    Carmen Brown – you hit the nail on the head.

    January 31, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Pat

    Keep your hat darlin and do not give it up and if you wish leave it to them in your will and until then tell them go fish

    January 31, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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