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We’ve all been witness to rap beefs time and time again, but rarely are we subjected to a battle of the R&B soul divas!

The latest matchup comes by way of music legends Mavis Staples and the late Aretha Franklin. Staples did an interview recently where she confirmed what many of us have already known about the Queen Of Soul, which is that she could be very shady in her demeanor.

Apparently things came to a head while the two recorded their 1987 cover of the gospel classic “Oh Happy Day” after Franklin opted to turn down Staples’ vocals on the record.


The GRAMMY-winning gospel veteran was recently profiled by The New Yorker, and she spoke extensively on her God-given vocal talent that still amazes people at the age of 82. Unfortunately, ‘Retha wasn’t one of them. “I put up with her for a long time till I got tired, you know?” Staples told New Yorker, going on to add, “She was very insecure. I tried my best to be her friend. She would call me and ask me to call her back. When I called her back, the number was changed. So, you know, she was weird like that.”

Here’s more on the complicated friendship between Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin below, via The New Yorker:

“[Staples] became good friends with Aretha Franklin and her siblings. There’s no question that Franklin had a more powerful and versatile vocal instrument, and Staples, despite her ability to put over a song with an uncommon depth of feeling, has never pretended otherwise. But she always felt somewhat diminished by Franklin, and, after they teamed up to record a live church performance of Edwin Hawkins’s ‘Oh Happy Day,’ in 1987, she felt outright disrespected. When the recording was released, it became clear that Franklin had turned down the volume on Staples’s vocal track. Staples said she just shrugged and let it go. ‘I should’ve told her, ‘No, just don’t put the record out,’ ‘ she said. ‘But you know me: goody-goody Mavis.’”

Franklin’s habit of warring with musical contemporaries apparently was an open secret within the industry, with one of the most prominent being her beef with Twitter’s current favorite auntie, Dionne Warwick. An incident at the 2012 funeral of fellow late R&B legend Whitney Houston where the “Don’t Make Me Over” vocalist referred to Franklin as Houston’s “godmother” ended up turning into animosity that lasted for years until Franklin’s own death on August 16, 2018. 

At the very least, Mavis seems to have taken the vocal shade from Aretha in stride when it was happening and during her recollection of the situation. Also, she’s not alone! Take a look below to see what we mean:




Mavis Staples Says Aretha Franklin Was “Very Insecure” On 1987 Duet “Oh Happy Day” & Turned Down Her Vocals  was originally published on