Barack and Michelle Obama will not be attending Aretha Franklin's funeral
The former president is expected to give a eulogy on Saturday morning at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., for the late Senator John McCain
The world is still mourning the loss of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. Sadly, however, one of her most ardent fans - former US President Barack Obama - won't be attending her funeral. Aretha had sung at Obama's 2009 inauguration and with just the miracle of her voice, had also moved him to tears at the Kennedy Center Honors Awards in 2015. But as the world assembles to greet the queen with a final goodbye, the former President of the United States and his wife - former first lady Michelle Obama - won't be attending the funeral at Detroit, as confirmed by their spokeswoman Katie Hill, on Wednesday.
The ex-president has to give another eulogy alongside his predecessor, President George W. Bush, on Saturday morning at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., for the late U.S. Senator, John McCain, the Arizona Republican who died August 25. And that will be the reason behind his absence from Aretha's funeral.
"Unfortunately, President and Mrs. Obama will not be able to attend Aretha Franklin’s services on Friday, but they have sent a letter, which the Rev. Al Sharpton will be reading during the service," Hill said in a statement. But that isn't all, as the Free Press had previously reported that Bush has also sent a letter to be read at Aretha's funeral.
So the Queen of Soul is getting outfit changes even as she lies in repose! Yesterday she was wearing red, today it's powder BLUE. We are hearing the Queen could change outfits one more time before her funeral on Friday. #ArethaFranklin pic.twitter.com/pqMVbAnCfz— Amanda Guerra (@AmandaGuerraTX) August 29, 2018
The token of honor has been long coming for the Queen of Soul, especially considering her long history with those holding the nation's highest office. In 1977, Aretha had sung at President Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Gala. She had also performed at former President Bill Clinton's inaugural ceremony, much like Obama's.
Later in May 1999, Franklin had performed for Clinton once again, at the White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner. Again, in the same year, she was also awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities by the president, during a White House ceremony.
The year 2005 saw Aretha being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bush, and then in 2009 arrived her performance of 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' at Obama's inauguration.
Following her death on August 16 death, the Obamas released a statement, saying: "America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine.
"Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade— our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.
"Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song."
Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder are on the list of speakers who will be speaker at Aretha's funeral.
So far, there has been no confirmation or response from the White House about the sitting president, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania, attending the funeral. However, on the day of her passing, Trump shared the following with reporters."
"I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing. She's brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God — her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family."