Monday, 24 September, 2018

Mourners say farewell to Aretha Franklin, star who touched souls

LIVE COVERAGE: How to watch Aretha Franklin's funeral WATCH: Final farewell to Aretha Franklin
| 01 September, 2018, 09:39

These gospel greats had a real connection to Franklin: Also hailing from Detroit, they once sang with her at the Grammys, while Franklin sang at their mother's funeral. "We started out as, like, Aretha Franklin groupies or something". It's hard to picture back here on the ground.

Jackson said Franklin's father, C.L. Franklin, was a hero before nightly television shows and the internet.

The speakers at Friday's invitation-only funeral at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple include former President Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson.

Greater Grace's Bishop Charles Ellis III says he wants all - even the famous - to leave with a "spiritual awakening". "Thank you for believing in me as much as you did". No jokes about clock-based concepts of time, please. "Aretha never took orders from nobody but God!"

Though its agenda may have seemed fluid to those who haven't spent much time in black churches, the service ebbed and flowed with its own precision, goal and meaning. Franklin died on August 18. Hill's rendition of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" failed to rouse, and some viewers tried hard not to judge.

"When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said she used to work for me".

"Aretha is her own very special category", Davis said.


Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan took to the podium to announce a proposal to rename the city's waterfront Chene Park after Franklin. Chaka Khan brought down the house with a lively version of "I'm Going Up Yonder". Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) stood to be recognized and the congregation shouted that they've got her back and she gave them what seemed to be a "Wakanda Forever" salute in return.

Hours in, the service took it to another level. Shortly after her death, Knight remembered the late legend in an interview with ET.

He ended his time by playing Franklin's "Think" on his iPhone into the mic.

"It's the key to freedom".

Franklin's nephew Vaughn, niece Cristal, granddaughter Victorie and grandson Jordan delivered comments, musical tributes and readings for their family's beloved matriarch. Fantasia Barrino stole hearts by removing her shoes before singing "Precious Lord". It was an appropriate sentiment for such a home-going service.

The former president also asked the audience to forgive him, saying he was happy that Franklin's casket was still open when he arrived because he just had to see what she was wearing. They travel on and the rest of us wonder, with some envy, what that must be like.

There is no comparing to the two people or their funerals, and there need not be. (If it's like anything at all.) It's not about a heaven or a hell.

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