A mural that was painted to honor the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was heartbreakingly vandalized in her hometown of Detroit.
Richard Wilson, a London-based artist, drew the mural which hoped to immortalize one of Franklin's album covers. After finding out that someone poured paint over his work, he decided to head back and fix it up in the city's Eastern Market.
According to Detroit Free Press, the mural was vandalized overnight after it was splattered in paint. The paint was left in a cherry picker, which made it easily accessible to those who vandalized it.
Luckily for Richard, he was still in the area when he found out about what happened. In fact, the vandalization happened on the same night that he completed his work.
“I finished it yesterday evening … all happy….I came back this morning just to tidy up a bit, check if there’s anything I missed or anything. It’s like they had a paint party here, and it’s just splattered all over the place,”
Heartbreaking for any artist, Wilson was in disbelief with what he saw, as he only went back to add up some finishing touches. However, he ended up having to re-touch the entire thing due to the vandalization.
According to the artist, he spent 12 days working on the piece for "Murals in the Market" public art event. Photos on Twitter and Instagram show that Richard's was not the only one who did murals on Aretha, as there are a lot more scattered around the area.
In another mural, Aretha's face was painted over the side of a two-story building, and it is also a part of the "Murals in the Market" project. However, given this painting's strategic location, it was not vandalized.
It is unclear what the motives of those who vandalized it were, especially since Aretha was known to be a good citizen of Detroit. In her last dying wish, it wasn't actually dedicated to her family, but to a small town in Michigan called Flint. According to Aretha, it's been years since the area had a proper water supply, and the singer wanted to ensure that if she were to be remembered for something aside from her music, it's that she was able to make a difference for this small community.
Given her selflessness to the people of Michigan, it is unclear why someone or a group of people have decided to deface her mural in Detroit, as it is her hometown.
However, everything is much better now that the mural has been re-touched, and people can now admire the beauty of the artwork.