Aretha Franklin: Stars And Fans Gather For Funeral

Musicians, politicians, celebrities and fans are gathering in Detroit for the funeral of Aretha Franklin.

The singer, known as the Queen of Soul, died earlier this month of pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

The five-hour funeral will feature performances from Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Faith Hill and Chaka Khan.

US president Bill Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Franklin’s fellow soul legend Smokey Robinson will be among the speakers.

The service was due to begin at 14:30 BST but began almost an hour late as the congregation gathered.

The singer’s family closed the lid on her coffin for the final time shortly before 16:30 BST, signifying the start of the ceremony.

“It took a little bit of time to get in here, but I believe the queen wouldn’t have had it any other way,” said Bishop Charles H Ellis, a family friend and pastor of the Greater Grace Temple, which is hosting the service.

Khan will be singing the gospel hymn Going Up Yonder, originally recorded by Walter Hawkins.

The disco legend admitted she was feeling “nervous as hell” ahead of the performance, but paid said she’d found comfort in the lyrics: “If anybody ask you / Where I’m going / Where I’m going soon / I’m goin’ up yonder / To be with my Lord.”

“I think it’s a positive, beautiful spin on this thing called life,” she told TMZ as she arrived in Detroit.

Franklin’s body has been lying in state at the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History over recent days, as thousands of fans gathered to pay their respects to the singer.

The star was dressed in a new outfit every day during the public viewing. For her funeral, she is in a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels.

Her body arrived at the Greater Grace Temple on Friday morning, in a white 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse.

It was the same vehicle that was used to carry Franklin’s father, Rev. CL Franklin in 1984; as well as Temptations singer David Ruffin in 1991 and civil rights activist Rosa Parks in 2005.

Franklin will be buried in a 24-carat, gold-plated casket made of solid bronze.

The interior is finished with champagne velvet, and stitched with her name and her title, “Queen of Soul”, in gold metallic thread.

tribute concert, starring The Four Tops, Angie Stone and Regina Belle was also hosted on Thursday evening in her honour.

Franklin won 18 Grammys, and had 17 Top Ten US chart hits over a music career spanning seven decades.

The star gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

 

Source: BBC