BREAKING! Aretha cancels Brooklyn shows

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The Queen of Soul is not Brooklyn-bound after all!

Aretha Franklin’s two free shows here next week — first on Aug. 9 at Wingate Field in Crown Heights, and then again on Aug. 12 at Asser Levy Seaside Park in Coney Island — have been canceled due to an unspecified injury that the singer claims to have suffered on Sunday.

“We’re quite bummed,” said Laura Sinagra, a spokeswoman for Borough President Markowitz, who hosts both concert series. Sinagra added that Markowitz and his producer are hoping to re-schedule Franklin’s dates.

The singer herself put out a statement on Wednesday that suggested that she’ll be back soon.

“I was very much looking forward to being in Brooklyn and having a foot-long hot dog at Coney Island,” Franklin said in the statement. “Hopefully, I will get it before the end of August.”

For 20 years, the borough president has been enticing the 68-year-old Franklin — known universally as just Aretha — to play his free concert series. This would have been his biggest coup since succeeding Howie Golden, and Franklin’s first shows in Brooklyn.

“Certainly thousands of music lovers were eagerly awaiting these historic shows, her first ever in Brooklyn, in the heart of our African-American community in Crown Heights and in world-famous Coney Island,” said Markowitz. “Believe me, for the more than 30 years that I have been presenting free concerts here, Ms. Franklin has been at the top of my wish-list, and that dream was about to come true. We can only hope she will reschedule when she’s feeling better — and we Brooklynites will be thrilled to welcome the Queen of Soul to the County of Kings.”

On the Sunday in question, Franklin performed at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, Mass., for 85 minutes, which included a 10-minute intermission when she “slipped to the side of the stage, took a seat in the shadows and toweled off while her massive orchestra took over,” according to the Boston Herald. Throughout the performance, the hefty soul legend also seemed out of breath, according to the paper.

Brooklynites aren’t the only ones missing out on the sultry powerful voice behind such hits as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools.”

The accident occurred just in time for Franklin to also have a convenient excuse to skip Rep. Charlie Rangel’s 80th birthday party at The Plaza on Aug. 11.

The thousand-term congressman is currently facing an ethics trial that could lead to his expulsion from the House.

The remainder of Markowitz’s concert series will continue as scheduled, as John Legend was set to perform on Thursday at Asser Levy Seaside Park. And on Aug. 19, the B-52s will perform.

Updated 2:38 pm, October 19, 2011
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