Aretha Franklin will be laid to rest Friday following a funeral service in Detroit, the city she called home for most of her life.
ASKiNGRADiO.com | News | Detroit | August 31
The 10 a.m. service, originally set to conclude at 3 p.m., is running about an hour behind schedule and is being broadcast on TV and streamed live online, including in the video player above. Below, are updates from the service:
*1:20 p.m. By the time Cristal Robin-Aretha Franklin was born, her aunt was already the Queen of Soul. But to Cristal, as she said in her remarks, Aretha was “just my aunt, my father’s sister. And I was her namesake.”
“My aunt Robin never let Aretha forget that her name came first, but Aretha would laugh and say they saved the best for last,” Cristal recalled.
1:15 p.m.: Victorie Franklin, spoke of wanting to follow in her famous grandmother’s footsteps.
“Her voice made you feel something, you felt every word, every note, every emotion in the songs she sang. Her voice brought peace,” she said. “And watching her on stage from a young age to the last performance I saw her at, I knew that performing was something I was born to do.”
1:12 p.m. Bishop Charles H. Ellis III called attention to a group of attendees — cast members of what he said was Franklin’s “most favorite television show,” Tyler Perry’s OWN drama, “The Haves and the Have Nots.”
1:05 p.m. Everyone was taken to church as the Williams Brothers and Vanessa Bell Armstrong gave one of the most powerful gospel tributes of the day.
“This is church, and in church, we do what church folk do,” Bishop Charles H. Ellis III said. “Come on, take Ms. Franklin to church!”
Many of those on stage and in the pews danced in their seats and the aisles, as the choir continued.“If Ms. Franklin can dance on the stage, somebody ought to be able to dance in the church,” Ellis continued, later adding, “We’re here to lift up this family. Put a smile on their face.”
12:54 p.m.: Former President George W. Bush, who honored Franklin in 2005 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, also sent a letter on behalf of himself and his wife, Laura.
“Aretha was a woman of achievement with a deep character and a loving heart,” Bush said. “She made important and lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice. Her remarkable talent helped shape our nation’s artistic and cultural heritage.”
12:50 p.m. Smokey Robinson shared the memory of when he first met Franklin. He was a child playing outside in Detroit with friends, and overheard her singing. “That was my first meeting, my first sight of you. From that moment on, almost, we have been so so close.”“I didn’t know, especially, this soon that I would have to be say goodbye to you,” Robinson said. “We talked about it many times how we were the two left out of all of our neighborhood friends. The longest ones” left, he said.
Robinson then said “I know you’re up there and you’re celebrating with your family, and all our neighborhood friends who have gone, and you’re going to be one of the featured voices in the choir of angels, because you’d have to be.”
Before he stepped away, he sang a capella “I’m Really Gonna Miss You,” followed by the Clark Sisters singing “Is My Living In Vain.”
12:42 p.m. Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, did not attend the funeral. But, in a letter read by Sharpton, the couple praised the late singer and expressed their “heartfelt sympathies to all of those who gathered in Detroit.”
He called the singer “one of a kind” and said she “lifted those of millions empowering and inspiring the vulnerable, the downtrodden and everyone who may have just needed a little love.”
12:40 p.m. Rev. Al Sharpton said Franklin, whom he referred to as “a black woman in a white man’s world,” wouldn’t want to be celebrated without mention of what she stood for. So he began his remarks by detailing her history as a civil rights activist and freedom fighter.
Sharpton also mentioned that many listeners corrected him after he misspelled “respect” while discussing Franklin on his radio show this past Sunday. Now, he wants to “correct President Trump and teach him what it means.”
“Trump said, she used to work for me,” Sharpton explained. “No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”