Aretha Franklin to Kathie Lee: ‘Research my worldwide celebrity’

entertainment news

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor

(CNN) – Memo to Kathie Lee Gifford and the “Today” show from the Queen of Soul: Do some research before you talk about me!

During the fourth hour of NBC’s morning show on Monday, co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford were talking with E! correspondent Jason Kennedy about Aretha Franklin wanting to be a judge on “American Idol,” a story which CNN first reported.

Gifford emphatically said today’s generation of music lovers don’t know who the 18-time Grammy Award winner is.

“If they are looking for a younger demographic, there are a lot of kids out there (who) actually don’t know who Aretha Franklin is. It’s sad, but they don’t,” Gifford said.

Then, Kennedy poured more cold water on the idea of Franklin doing the show, saying she doesn’t like to fly and that will make it hard for her to travel across the country for auditions.

“She does not fly. She needs to get over that (doing ‘Idol’),” he said.

A few hours later, Franklin responded in an e-mail, exclusively obtained by CNN. In it, she set the record — and her critics at “Today” — straight.

“While I enjoy Kathie Lee and Hoda daily, her assessment is totally wrong!” Franklin wrote.

“I’ve been to California from Detroit four times this year, and Florida. I go wherever I choose to go comfortably on my custom bus.

“Further, my audience and fans span the age of 8 to 90! And are multi-ethnic, and I am very well known to young adults, tweens and teens. Their parents play my music and I take care of my business whenever I sign on the dotted line!

“I’m surprised Kathie Lee did not research my worldwide celebrity audience! She’s usually right on top of things with a great sense of humor, but she’s totally wrong this time. She should research me before she speaks about me. I’m sure she thought she was right; still enjoy Hoda and Kathie Lee!”

As for be a judge on “Idol,” Franklin made it clear she’s up for the task.

“I could enjoy being a judge for a season or two. Let’s kick it up a few notches and have a slammin’, jammin’ season,” she wrote.

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