Unforgettable moments from Aretha Franklin’s funeral
Aretha Franklin’s funeral was an farewell fit for a legend.
Between the star-studded appearances and heartfelt tributes, here’s how family, friends and famous fans said goodbye to the “Queen of Soul.”
Former president Bill Clinton joked that he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were “Aretha groupies.”
Clinton added that Franklin, who performed at his first inauguration in 1993, “lived with courage” and “cared about broken people.”
“I just loved her,” he said.
Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also wrote letters that were read during the service.
“She made important and lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice,” Barbara Sampson read on Bush’s behalf.
Obama added in his letter: “Aretha lifted those of millions, empowering and inspiring the vulnerable, the downtrodden, and everyone who may have just needed a little love.”
Smokey Robinson’s touching goodbye
Saying goodbye to a person he called his “oldest friend,” Robinson’s very personal speech gave a glimpse into his relationship with his childhood friend.
“I know you’re celebrating with your family and our neighborhood friends who are all gone. And you’re going to be a featured voice in the choir of angels,” he said.
While not among the official list of performers, Robinson also sang a few bars from his ballad “Really Gonna Miss You,” visibly moving some of Franklin’s family members.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry, acting legend Cicely Tyson and music executive Clive Davis were also among the many speakers.
With a lineup that included Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and Ariana Grande, Franklin’s funeral had enough heavy-hitters to populate the lineup for a music festival. Nothing less would be expected for a musical great’s celebration.
Wonder sang “As” after delivering a speech that emphasized the power of love.
“We need to make love great again,” Wonder said.
Hudson brought mourners to their feet with a powerful rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Earlier in the lengthy ceremony, Grande performed her take on “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” the 1967 song written by Carole King that became one of Franklin’s signature hits.
Performers like The Clark Sisters, Chaka Khan and Yolanda Adams also entertained the crowd.
Jennifer Holliday closed the service.
A tribute fit for the ‘Queen’
Early in the ceremony, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced his intention to propose naming Chene Park, a 5,000-seat waterfront amphitheater, after Franklin, a move that drew huge cheers from those in attendance.
“Our beautiful waterfront jewel will be Aretha Franklin park and when performers from generations to come from around the world come here they will be reminded they are performing at the home of the “Queen of Soul,” he said.