Aretha Franklin lies cross-legged in glittering gold casket as thousands gather to pay respects

Aretha Franklin lay in an open gold casket wearing a red dress and shiny red stilettos. Her feet were crossed at the ankles and her hair was perfectly coiffed in waves


                            Aretha Franklin lies cross-legged in glittering gold casket as thousands gather to pay respects

Fans and followers of Aretha Franklin lined up outside a museum in Detroit, Michigan and many even spent the night on the sidewalk outside to pay their respects to the Queen of Soul during the two-day public viewing starting Tuesday, reports the Daily Mail. Franklin died from advanced pancreatic cancer at age 76 on August 16.

The legendary singer's body arrived at Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit in a solid gold casket inside a classic 1936 white LaSalle on Tuesday where it will be on display for two days.

Franklin died from advanced pancreatic cancer at age 76 on August 16 (Getty Images)
Franklin died from advanced pancreatic cancer at age 76 on August 16 (Getty Images)

The singer lay in an open gold casket wearing a red dress and shiny red stilettos. Her feet were crossed at the ankles. Her hair was perfectly coiffed in waves and pin curls.  

Museum board member Kelly Major Green told The Sun that the goal was to create a dignified and respectful environment akin to a church. “What we wanted to do is be reflective of the Queen,” Green said. “It’s beautiful. She’s beautiful.”

With her legs crossed at the ankles, Green said the superstar communicates both power and comfort — just as she did in life.

While a lot of the fans hailed from Detroit itself, there were hundreds of other people who had traveled from all across the country in order to catch a glimpse of Franklin at the museum.



 

The Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, as per reports, had previously hosted a similar public viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks following her death in 2005. The museum had been the largest Black museum in the United States until the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, DC in 2016. 

Many fans spent the night on the sidewalk outside the museum (Getty Images)
Many fans spent the night on the sidewalk outside the museum (Getty Images)

One of the people waiting for Franklin's casket viewing was 50-year-old Melissa Howard who had come down all the way from Texas and arrived at 6:30 pm Monday, a day before Franklin's public viewing started, just to ensure that she would be able to make it inside the museum and pay her respects to the late singer. She told the Detroit Free Press, "She's the Queen," further adding, "She's royalty. She's worth it."

According to reports, thousands of mourners are expected to gather at the museum over the next couple of days. The public viewing will be open from 9 am to 9 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, her body will be moved to New Bethel Baptist Church, which was founded by her late father Rev. CL Franklin so that the members of the congregation can pay their respects if they were unable to do so at the public viewing.



 

Her funeral, which is being held on Friday at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple, is supposed to be a family and friends service only and will be attended by an all-star lineup of performers including Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and Shirley Caesar. Other performers who are scheduled to be present for the service are Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday and Franklin's son Edward Franklin.

Guests who are scheduled to speak at the singer's funeral service include former President Bill Clinton and Revs. Jesse Jackson (Getty Images)
Guests who are scheduled to speak at the singer's funeral service include former President Bill Clinton and Revs. Jesse Jackson (Getty Images)

However, the VIP appearances at Franklin's funeral are not restricted to the world of music; other guests who are scheduled to speak at the service are former President Bill Clinton, Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Bishop TD Jakes, Cicely Tyson, former US Attorney General Eric Holder, Clive Davis and Michigan Gov Rick Snyder. 

At the funeral, Rev Jasper Williams Jr, pastor of Atlanta's Salem Baptist Church, will deliver the eulogy. It is expected that the service will be quite a long one lasting up to five hours.

President Bill Clinton and Aretha Franklin attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City.
President Bill Clinton and Aretha Franklin attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City.

The singer was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and moved to Detroit when she was just five. She was recently named her the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Franklin’s dazzling music career included classic songs You Make Me Feel Like, A Natural Woman and RESPECT.

Franklin had four children and died surrounded by loved ones in the town where she grew up.