There's a hidden meaning behind why Aretha Franklin was dressed in red at her public viewing
Upto the days leading to her funeral on Friday, Aretha Franklin is said to be dressed in different dresses for being the queen that she was
Queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest on a glittering 14-karat gold casket at Detroit's Charles H Wright Museum of African American History on Tuesday. As fans poured in to pay their respects from all over the country, the late legend was poised as significantly as a diva, in ruby red stilettos lying cross-legged in a red cocktail dress. Inscribed inside the champagne velvet interior of the casket were the words “The Queen of Soul” in small gold letters and surrounding it were fully bloomed bunch of soft-pink and lavender roses.
The planning for this tribute was initiated earlier this year according to Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece and museum board member Kelly Major Green ensured to create an environment reflective of the legendary singer's dignified life. “What we wanted to do is be reflective of the Queen,” Green stated. “It’s beautiful. She’s beautiful.”
While roses reflected her love for flowers and golden casket represented her luxurious life in grand fashion, what stood out the most was her fashionable outfit and as rightly pointed out, she was a "diva to the end." Her regal presence looms even among those who just catch a glimpse of the pictures of her memorial viewing.
Franklin's red full tulle lace dress is actually an indication of her honorary membership in the predominantly African American sorority Delta Sigma Theta as crimson is the color of the sorority she belonged to. Added to that, the dress features ornamental elements and sheer net fabric which is something she would have worn for her performance on stage as her niece tells The Associated Press, "something she would have selected for herself." Her legs were crossed at the ankles, "to remember someone who was comfortable with being a strong woman," The Sun states. Her heels, which is a 5-inch patent Christian Louboutin leather pumps match her ruby dress and custom-designed beaded earrings.
Executive vice president of Swanson Funeral Home, Linda Swanson, told the press that Aretha Franklin will wear different clothing in coming days. "It's a surprise," Linda Swanson said. "Just natural changes in a wardrobe that a queen would make."
However, red is very much the color we associate with soul songstress as the 18-time Grammy winner rocked a red dress with feathered sleeves in 1969 when performing on The Andy Williams Show.
And who can forget Franklin's red beaded dress in concert in 1989 as well as an iconic red structured ball gown in 1992?
Following year, she again donned a red dress with a fur coat while performing at President Bill Clinton's inauguration.
In 2005, Aretha Franklin took the stage at the Essence Festival in a one-shoulder red gown and shawl and we were smitten.
Whatever colors may follow next, leading up to her funeral on Friday, Aretha Franklin will own fashion in life and death. In the nineties, when New York Post wrote that Franklin was too "bosomy" for the clothing she wore, she replied by saying, "You are hardly in a position to determine what separates stars from divas since you are neither one nor an authority on either."
The 'Respect' hitmaker had previously been diagnosed with cancer in 2010, later confirming she had a tumor removed. Her publicist confirmed her death in a statement to Express.co.uk when Gwendolyn Quinn said, “Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9.50 am at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI."
The family added, “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family."