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

People: Smithsonian requests Aretha's hat

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/22/lkl.aretha.franklin/art.franklin.gi.jpg caption="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. Joy O

    Perhaps the good folks at the Smithsonian have requested the hat in hopes that the Queen of Soul never wears it publicly again!

    January 31, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. lilacs

    One persons trash is another person treasure. If Ms franklin wants to keep her hat that is he choice,but I understand the smithstonian veiw point to,Lady Soul is a treasure heself. Thank you for all the beautiful music.

    January 31, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. liz

    I love that hat!!! She looked awesome in it. How killer is that, the Smithsonian wants it! Go Aretha!

    January 31, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Meka


    January 31, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. lescroc

    The hat is a ugly as you are Aretha! give the damm hat away! The goodwill to the goodwill industry would be most appreciated.

    January 31, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. JB

    There was a lot of history made that day.

    The hat in question contributed little.

    January 31, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. Pat in IL

    This hat is truly iconic of both the inauguration and Aretha herself. What a lady!!! It should eventually make its way to the Smithsonian.

    January 31, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. alisa

    Give the hat.. Stop grandstanding...

    January 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Patti

    When I was in college working at a entertainment complex and doing an internship in a jail the jailmates were all excited about Aretha coming to town. Sometimes I would talk to the performers, Yul Brenner was the nicest. I asked for Aretha's autograph for the women in jail and they flat out said no. I'm not surprised that she doesn't want to give up her hat...Give Aretha, give...

    January 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |

    Wow. That's one big bow on that hat.
    I laughed when I first saw it and then I realized that it's Aretha. So out of R-E S- P- E- C- T I stopped laughing. For a minute.

    January 31, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. tomitron

    what is the matter with you people? the hat was the best and it most certainly needs to be included in america's attic-–long live the queen!

    January 31, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Vic

    Because her hat is a history-making object is precisely the reason the Smithsonian wants to exhibit it. Aretha should get the designer to make her a copy, wear it as she wishes, and be proud that she was right up there with the president in making history.

    January 31, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. Listen Up!

    Will it to them Aretha!

    January 31, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. Robert

    Good, put it in the museum, so no one will ever have to see it on TV again. It was absolutely awful, as was Michelle Obama's dress!

    January 31, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. Kristin

    I love Aretha, but I probably would never take my son the Smithsonian someday to see this hat and watch his eyes light up at it. It's of significance to her, she ought to keep it if she wants.

    January 31, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. Joe

    This will be the #1 drag queen costume this coming Halloween.

    January 31, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. Debby

    The only place that hat belongs is in the dumpster.

    January 31, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. Lisa in AZ

    I... LOVED... THAT... HAT.

    January 31, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. canta

    Love the hat. Enjoy it and leave it in your will.

    January 31, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Roberta

    Maybe they just want it to keep her from wearing it in public again.

    January 31, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Zion

    Give that ugly hat up so that these people can cover real news.

    January 31, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. karela

    Consider donating the hat Aretha. You're right, it was a crowning moment in history and your hat became an icon of that moment. If you keep it at home, you can enjoy it yourself and your heirs can sell it for a lot of money later. If you give it to the Smithsonian, it becomes a permanent icon in American history and it becomes one more brick in the building that commemorates and marks this historic moment for all time. The hat has more power for good if you give it than if you keep it. Is it really personal satisfaction that you most want or is it something far bigger that you most want? Do you want your hat to mark one of the most momentous events in American history and remind people forever that we celebrated something magnificent on January 20,2009? Give the hat to the people of America for it represents a great stride for your people.

    January 31, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |

    I would love to see Aretha's hat go to the Smithsonian. It would represent our 'black culture' and heritage. Our older 'mothers' in the church still wear 'big hats' during church service. The inaguration was defining moment for African Americans and Aretha and her 'hat' were a part of that moment.

    January 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. mypitts2

    People on this site who do not like the hat have no taste in fashion, or are either too young to know what they're talking about, and should probably keep their opinions to themselves. The hat is lovely and understated and is a great example of the "crowns" worn by many African-American church woman.

    The Smithonsian's interest in the piece makes perfect sense, and I agree with those who say Ms. Franklin should donate the hat for historical purposes.

    As for the hat's critics: I'd love to get a gander at your own closets. What is that saying: Better to keep silent and be thought ignorant, rather than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

    January 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. Molly Weasley

    She's Aretha Franklin. She can wear whatever hat she wants to.
    Personally, I doubt she would want to give it up! It is a fine example of a "crown."

    January 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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