Aretha Franklin: Memorable moments from the Queen of Soul's funeral
Thousands of people gathered to get a glimpse of what was initially planned to be a private funeral of the legendary singer. Here are the higlights of the ongoing funeral.
Aretha Franklin lived her life well and her funeral reflected the life well-lived. Even before she passed away on August 16 at the age of 76, the world came together, united under the power of her soulful voice, to love and support her. As she was laid to rest, after succumbing to pancreatic cancer, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit at a three-day viewing earlier this week, devoted fans from all over the country lined up to see Franklin, resting in a gold coffin and dressed to the nines for her send-off.
Franklin’s funeral happening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Friday at the Greater Grace Temple, is one of the most noteworthy events. Everyone from Ariana Grande to Stevie Wonder to Faith Hill to Jesse Jackson has arrived in the queen’s hometown of Detroit, where they will pay their respects through song, prayer, and speech.
As the procession continues, here are some of the memorable moments from the ceremony. The event can be live-streamed on the Detroit Free Press’s website.
Hundreds gathered hours before the procession started
Hours before the procession started, hundreds of people gathered on the streets. The funeral, which was previously announced as a private event for close family and friends, opened up to the public on Thursday. Some even lined up before 6 pm yesterday to be the first in line while bidding goodbye to the Queen of Soul.
Hundreds lined up early this morning for Aretha’s funeral. Lots of folding chairs and church clothes. pic.twitter.com/8hgT4THbCv— JC Reindl (@jcreindl) August 31, 2018
Freeway of Love: Dozens of pink Cadillacs lining the streets of Detroit ahead of Aretha Franklin's funeral celebration Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/Hfir6fra8t— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 31, 2018
Some people arrived before 6 pm yesterday to be first in line for Aretha’s funeral. After police reformed line to go down 7 Mile, they’re now stuck in middle pic.twitter.com/WOxfrLUBTs— JC Reindl (@jcreindl) August 31, 2018
The Golden Casket glittered in the sun
Franklin’s Promethian golden casket, which is plated in 24-karat gold, caught rays of sunlight as pallbearers carried it into the church. It glittered ethereally as it arrived at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit earlier this morning. A white 1940 LaSalle hearse — the same Cadillac that carried the bodies of Franklin’s father, Temptations baritone David Ruffin, and civil-rights icon Rosa Parks carried her to the venue.
High profile names including politicians and celebrities took their seats.
Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande were spotted interacting and taking pictures. Rep. Maxine Waters, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and many others took their seats five minutes before Franklin's family members arrived.
Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson just hugged and took photos with both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton at Aretha's funeral pic.twitter.com/vIVx9HCxv9— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) August 31, 2018
Faith Hill performed 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus'
The country superstar, who frequently covered Franklin’s songs at concerts, was the first of the celebrity performers to take the stage and she gave a heartfelt rendition of 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus.'
Detroit’s mayor proposed renaming a park after Franklin
Mayor Mike Duggan announced; “On Tuesday, I will be sending city council a proposal to rename Chene Park. Our beautiful waterfront jewel will be Aretha Franklin Park.” Brenda Jones, Detroit’s City Council President, also announced the council’s intention to rename a portion of Madison Avenue to 'Aretha Franklin Way.'
Ariana Grande pays tribute with Franklin's classic '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman'
Ariana Grande pays a musical tribute to Aretha Franklin, singing the Queen of Soul's hit (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 31, 2018
Follow the star-studded funeral on our live blog https://t.co/0QHRExB5Wc pic.twitter.com/G1htH8hN4J
The pop star performed her take on the 1967 song written by Carole King that became one of Franklin's signature hits.
Reverend Al Sharpton pays tribute to his late friend, reads Barack Obama's letter
After misspelling Franklin’s legendary song 'Respect' in his tribute to the Queen, Sharpton redeemed himself during his tribute. “She never shamed us,” he said. “She never disgraced us. She never made us make excuses for her. She represented the best in our community, and fought for our community until the end.” Sharpton went on to read a letter from Barack Obama, who wrote that “Aretha Franklin rocked the world of anyone who had the pleasure of hearing her voice,” and that “her work reflected the very best of the American story.”
Franklin’s granddaughter Victorie Franklin: "Proud to have had someone like that in my life"
Victorie Franklin took to stage to share her experience growing up as Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter as her peers would ask her what's it was like. At the time, she would “shrug [her] shoulders” and say, “I don’t know, it’s just my grandma.” But when she would go to Franklin’s shows, Victorie said she always experienced “the best feeling in the world.”
“It feels amazing to see a woman so fierce, so courageous, gifted, so respected and to be able to call that my grandmother, to know that I have that running through my blood and that she’s a part of who I am,” she said. “I’m so proud to have had someone like that in my life to pave the way for me.”
"It feels amazing to see a woman so fierce, so courageous, gifted, so respected," says Aretha Franklin's granddaughter Victorie Franklin: "I'm so proud to have had someone like that in my life to pave the way for me" https://t.co/nJFmemn90M pic.twitter.com/sAAxYBg1V2— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 31, 2018