A star-studded farewell for Aretha Franklin | Music | DW | 31.08.2018
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Music

A star-studded farewell for Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul's funeral ceremony in Detroit began to the sound of a choir singing "Say a Little Prayer." Thousands of fans have paid their respects to Aretha Frankin over the last week.

The church choir at the Greater Grace Temple sang Aretha Franklin's "Say a Little Prayer" and her version of "Bridge over Troubled Water" as mourners arrived on Friday for the ceremony to mark the star's passing.

"Come on, this is a church service, lift your voice!" Bishop Charles Ellis III told mourners as they arrived. 

Mourners gather for Aretha Franklin's funeral at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit

Mourners gather for Aretha Franklin's funeral at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit

Franklin's family arrived to the sound of "You are the Source of My Strength."

Friends, family and stars filed past the open casket where the singer has laid. Her fourth and final outfit of the week was a sparkling, full-length gold dress with sequined heels.

Hillary Clinton und Ariana Grande

Singer Ariane Grande spoke with Hillary Clinton before the funeral service began. 

Franklin died on August 16 at the age of 76. 

Guests in attendance included former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson.

"She had the voice of a generation, maybe the voice of a century," Clinton remarked, saying he had been a big fan of Franklin before he became president. 

Tyler Perry, Whoopi Goldberg, Rev. Al Sharpton, Faith Hill, T.D. Jakes, Jennifer Holliday, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Rep. Maxine Waters and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were also among the nation's elite in attendance.

The choir stands behind the line of dignatories including Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton

The choir stands behind the line of dignatories including Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton

Singing tribute

Among those performing at the tribute were Franklin's friends and contemporaries, Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson also sang.

Bishop Ellis III said he wanted all — even the famous — to leave with a "spiritual awakening."

The Obamas had to decline the invitation due to Senator John McCain's funeral. They sent a letter to be read by Sharpton, which stated Franklin's "work reflected the very best of the American story."

Sharpton and Jackson both praised Franklin's contributions to the 1960s civil rights movement. 

The tribute comes at the end of a four-day public viewing during which thousands of fans paid their respects to the singer.

International note

Franklin was also honored around the world. In London, the Welsh Guards played "Respect" during the ceremonial changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace on Friday morning. The army said it wanted to pay tribute to a "musical icon and inspiration."

Floral arrangements from Sam Moore, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand and the family of Otis Redding were set up in a hallway outside the Temple.

cw,ct/eg (AP, AFP)

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