Judge Mathis Talks About Good Friend Aretha Franklin, and Why He's Surprised He's Been on TV So Long

Judge Greg Mathis joined “The Real” ladies on Friday’s show to talk about his good friend Aretha Franklin, and why he’s so surprised his TV show is still on the after nearly 20 years.

The Emmy-winning TV star spoke at the late Queen of Soul’s memorial in August.

Asked what she would have thought of the celebration of her life, he explained, “Quite frankly, I think she would be a little shy. She was a very shy woman with all the praise. She was being praised since age 14, and was traveling with Martin Luther King and singing with him with her dad, and then cutting an album as an 18-year-old, so she didn’t care for all the praise, so I think she would have been uncomfortable.”

Tamera asked what his last conversation with Aretha was about, and Judge Mathis surprised the hosts by saying it was about politics.

“She would call me every month and we would talk politics. Most folks don’t know she was very engaged. She grew up like that in the civil rights movement, singing for Dr. King around the country and helping out in many ways, and so she would call me and we would talk politics… and she would always pressure me and tell me I need to go and use my platform to fight for equality.”

He also spoke about the Flint water crisis, and said Aretha urged him to provide support.

“Aretha and I had talked about that in the past… well, about a month before she passed, they stopped giving away the free water before the pipes had been repaired, and so the people are going without free water and they have to buy water, so she said, ‘Greg, you have to get back up there,’ and she used her famous line… ‘You’ve got to get back up there and sock it to ‘em. Go bring them some water and fight back,’ so we brought them 12,000 cases of water… and we’re going back up there in February to fight some more.”

The hosts also asked if he ever thought his show, which first aired in 1999, would make it to a 20th season.

“Absolutely not,” he replied. “I always gave myself every four years. I would think, ‘Well this is it.’”

Congrats on 20 seasons, Judge Mathis!

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