British Army pays RESPECT to Aretha Franklin

Star-studded funeral for Aretha Franklin

Aretha's final farewell, what we know:

  • The Queen of Soul's star-studded service was livestreamed around the world
  • The singer's body was transported to the service in Rosa Parks' white hearse
  • Aretha will be laid to rest in a solid bronze casket plated in 24-carat gold
  • The superstar's body will be entombed at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit
  • Aretha wore a string of fashionable outfits in the run up to her star-studded burial
  • Stars including Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson perform
  • Speakers include Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
  • About 100 pink Cadillacs lined up outside the Greater Grace Temple
  • Aretha's body has been covered in shimmering fabric and her casket was closed to shouts of "Hallelujah!" from the audience
  • Rev Al Sharpton took a swipe at Donald Trump for saying that Franklin once worked for him
  • Faith Hill honoured Aretha Franklin by singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
  • Ariana Grande sang "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
  • Motown legend performs "Really Gonna Miss You" in honour of his lifelong friend
  • Franklin's grandchildren Jordan and Victorie Franklin break down as they pay tribute

 

ARETHA Franklin's star-studded funeral got underway in Detroit on Friday, political dignitaries and music royalty joining family, friends and members of the public to bid goodbye to America's "Queen of Soul."

The Queen of Soul was transported to her final farewell in Rosa Parks' hearse wearing a gold dress inside a gold casket to the Greater Grace Temple where family, celebrity friends and fans gathered.

The service, a celebration of the life and legacy of the US music icon, was expected to last six hours in her Michigan hometown.

Former President Bill Clinton poses for a photo with Ariana Grande Pete Davidson during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin in Detroit. Picture; AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Former President Bill Clinton poses for a photo with Ariana Grande Pete Davidson during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin in Detroit. Picture; AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Today's send-off will "mark the elements, emotions and grand entrances" that were hallmarks of the 76-year-old's six decade career which only ended when she died of pancreatic cancer aged 76 on August 16.

Among those offering words were to be former President Bill Clinton, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and singer Smokey Robinson.

Robinson promised to make his words "personal" since he remained close with the legendary star until the very end.

He revealed they "talked all the time," the last just a couple weeks before she became too ill to speak.

"We saw all of our other close friends go," Robinson said. "We used to talk about that - we saw a lot of soldiers go."

Former president Bill Clinton and Smokey Robinson were among those due to give eulogies, with music from Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, who is to portray Franklin in an upcoming biopic.

Grande was humorously introduced by Rev. Ellis who said, "When I saw Ariana Grande on the program I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell".

Faith Hill sings 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus' at the funeral, and Ariana Grande performs 'Natural Woman'.

Wonder was to do a rendition of 'The Lord's Prayer and his hit 'As'.

A person holds a program during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin.  Picture:  AP
A person holds a program during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin. Picture: AP

Bishop Charles Ellis III of the Detroit church said he was fully aware this afternoon's funeral might well exceed seven hours.

"This is not a concert, this is not a show, this is not an awards production. This is a real life that has been lived, that a person regardless of how famous she became no matter how many people she touched around the world, she still could not escape death," he said.

"And hopefully, a lot of people here with money and fame and influence and friends and notoriety and wealth, hopefully they will think of their mortality and say there is something bigger than fame, there is something bigger than Hollywood, something bigger than being a recording artist and selling gold albums or what have you."

Al Sharpton takes shot at Trump at Aretha Franklin's funeral

The Rev. Al Sharpton took a jab at President Trump on Friday - saying he needs a lesson in respect after referring to Aretha Franklin as someone "who used to work for me" immediately after her passing.

"I want y'all to help me correct President Trump, to teach him what [respect] means," Sharpton said to a standing ovation at Franklin's packed funeral at the Greater Grace Temple.

"No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us."

Trump's apparent gaffe came on Aug. 16, the day Franklin died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.

"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," Trump said during a cabinet meeting.

"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."

It's unclear what he meant when he said Franklin "worked" for him.
 

Outside, there was a heavy police presence, with roads sealed off, a helicopter circling overhead and officers patrolling on horseback.

Smokey Robinson (glasses) arrives to attend soul music icon Aretha Franklin's funeral. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Smokey Robinson (glasses) arrives to attend soul music icon Aretha Franklin's funeral. Picture: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The Queen of Soul's Legacy

Aretha Franklin influenced generations of female singers from the late Whitney Houston to Beyonce, with unforgettable hits including Respect (1967), Natural Woman (1968) and I Say a Little Prayer (1968).

Franklin won 18 Grammy Awards and was feted for her civil rights work, raising money for the cause and inspiring activists with her anthems.

She was voted the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine and for African American women in particular was a role model and a benchmark for success, feminism and empowerment.

Pink Cadillacs - some having been driven across the US - parked en masse outside the church, expected to follow her cortege to the cemetery where she is to be buried alongside her father and siblings.

They are a nod to her 1985 hit "Freeway of Love," an anthem to her Motor City hometown, in which Franklin sang about a pink Cadillac, the car company that was founded in Detroit in 1902.

Aretha Franklin's longtime hairdresser talks styling her for her funeral

Even in death, Aretha Franklin is still making headlines with her style.

The body of the Queen of Soul, who died on August 16 at the age of 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, has been on display in Detroit for the past three days dressed in a trio of stylish outfits - with yet another wardrobe change for today's funeral.  

Franklin's hairdresser of 35 years, Carlton Northern, was responsible for the "Natural Woman" singer's final beauty look, a short crop of curls.

He said he approached the job the same way he would any of Franklin's requests.  

"I talked to her and thought about some of the things she would say to me, like 'Don't mess up my makeup, Carlton,' or 'OK, Carlton, let it whip!'

She would often fall asleep while I'd be doing her hair, so it seemed to me that this was like that, too," he told the Daily Beast.  

Northern, 64, met Franklin when he was in his twenties and apprenticing at a salon in Detroit.  

His first job with the musical icon involved dyeing her hair blonde for the cover of her 1983 album "Get it Right" - a process Northern said involved some trial and error, but also earned him an album credit in the end.  

"It said, 'He did it until he got it right," Northern told the publication. "It was an inside joke."   The hairstylist also said that Franklin always praised him when she loved her look.

"I'd give her the mirror, and she'd either say, 'It's whipped, it's whipped,' or 'I'm ready for my close up,'" Northern recalled.  

After nearly four decades spent traveling the world with Franklin - doing her hair for multiple visits to the White House and other 

"She said, 'You got me?' I looked at her and said, 'All the way, Aretha.'"
 

Detroit park to be named for Aretha Franklin

AN outdoor concert venue along Detroit's waterfront will be renamed in honor of Aretha Franklin, Motor City Mayor Mike Duggan announced at the Queen of Soul's funeral Friday.

Mourners at Greater Grace Temple gave Duggan a standing ovation as he announced plans to send a proposal to his city council on Tuesday to rename Chene Park to Aretha Franklin Park.

"Our beautiful waterfront jewel will be Aretha Franklin Park," Duggan bellowed to roaring applause. "And when performers from generations to come, from around the world, come here, they will be reminded that they are performing at the home of the Queen of Soul."

The news prompted Pastor Charles Ellis to rush up to the mic and joke, "And the mayor just got reelected."
 

Motown royalty

Franklin is expected to make her final journey in the same ivory 1940 Cadillac LaSalle that transported the body of her father in 1984, and that of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005.

Detroit regards Franklin as royalty. For three days she lay in a golden, open-casket, wearing a different outfit each day - red on Tuesday, blue on Wednesday, rose gold on Thursday and a golden sparkling dress for her funeral on Friday.

Thousands and thousands of members of the public lined up to see her one last time - at her father's New Bethel Baptist Church, and the Charles H. Wright Museum for African-American History.

 

Madonna pays tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York. Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Madonna pays tribute to Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, in New York. Picture: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

On Thursday, more than 40 artists performed for thousands at a free concert, billed "A People's Tribute to the Queen," powering through some of her greatest hits, culminating with "Respect."

"It's truly inspiring to see how many hearts, how many people my grandma has touched," said her granddaughter Victorie Franklin.

The daughter of a prominent Baptist preacher and civil rights activist, Franklin sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the inaugurations of presidents Clinton and Barack Obama.

She was awarded America's highest civilian honour by George W. Bush in 2005.

Murals of the late Aretha Franklin in the Shoreditch area of London, England. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Murals of the late Aretha Franklin in the Shoreditch area of London, England. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

 



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