Video Review: Aretha Franklin “Freeway of Love”

In black-and-white, cars drive on I-75 South, heading to Detroit, Michigan. At a plant, people work on the assembly line, putting the finishing touches on cars. People drive past Goodyear Auto Service.

Servers carry their trays as people dance to Aretha Franklin’s music as she performs on stage at Doug’s Body Shop in Ferndale. Clarence Clemons plays the saxophone. In the street, a man turns on his headlight. He opens the door to the passenger and moves his finger, motioning for her to get inside. She wrinkles her nose as she waits in her fur coat and hat.

Mechanics dance in front of the bar and Ford headquarters. An office worker leaves the General Motors headquarters for the day. Cars stop at the toll bridge. A man takes a person’s payment. Cars are piled up in a junkyard.

A mechanic hides beneath a car and shields himself with some rims. People dance by the Uniroyal Giant Tire in Allen Park. The frame of a car sits in a field. A man dances in front of the Motown Museum in Detroit.

A man’s reflection is seen in the headlight of the car. She winks from the passenger side of the car and drives off with the man.

Rating: 5/5

Detroit, Michigan, in 1985, was known for its record number of murders. The Chicago Tribune suggested some causes in 1987 as they reported the statistics. One problem brought up in the article was the vast divide between the suburbs and the city.

In 2018, Detroit has transformed into a vibrant city where people and businesses want to be. The Detroit Pistons and Red Wings have moved to the Little Caesar’s Arena from their stadiums in the neighboring counties. The resurgence can be credited to Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans, and the Illitch family, who have invested in the city. A recent bid of Amazon failed due to lack of public transport. An attempt, though, to bridge the city and suburbs was put to a vote  by the Regional Transit Authority in 2016 and struck down, according to the Detroit Free Press. Unfortunately, the divide still continues 30 years later.

Michigan itself depends on manufacturing to survive. For many in the state, a job at a plant is a coveted spot and means to escape minimum wage work. It’s common to have several friends or family members employed or retired from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. A neighbor or co-worker’s niece may work for the suppliers. The North American Auto Show is the premiere event, starting off the year. The Woodward Dream Cruise in the summer celebrates vintage cars.  Cars epitomize Michigan as much as Motown. Detroit, like most major cities, has its faults but has outgrown its bad reputation which Aretha Franklin was trying to refute at the time.

Director: N/A Year: 1985

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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