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Aretha Franklin funeral: Jennifer Holliday performs as moving ceremony concludes

The ceremony in honour of the late Aretha Franklin has come to an end

Chelsea Ritschel,Joe Sommerlad
Friday 31 August 2018 23:48 BST
Aretha Franklin 'The Queen of Soul' dies aged 76

A memorial service celebrating the life of singer Aretha Franklin took place in Detroit today, where performers, fans, friends and family members joined to pay their respects to the "Queen of Soul".

The legendary singer, known for such anthems as “Respect”, “Natural Woman” and “Say a Little Prayer”, died of pancreatic cancer earlier this month, aged 76.

Icons including Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Ariana Grande performed at the city's Greater Grace Temple, as well as a host of local gospel musicians, while Bill Clinton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson paid tribute to the life of the beloved Aretha Franklin.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the memorial service honouring the late soul and gospel star Aretha Franklin, who died earlier this month, aged 76.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 13:31

Taking place at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit and presided over by the church’s pastor, Bishop Charles H Ellis, the event will feature musical tributes from Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Faith Hill, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson and Shirley Caesar, amongst others.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 13:34

Gospel artists Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, the Aretha Franklin Choir, the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir and the artist’s son, Edward Franklin, will also perform.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 13:42

Among those offering personal reflections on Franklin’s life and work will be former president Bill Clinton, civil rights icons the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, legendary soul singer Smokey Robinson and comedian Tyler Perry.

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan state governor Rick Snyder will also speak on her contribution to Motor City history.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 13:47

Here’s what’s happening:

Guests started arriving at 1.30pm GMT and the service will begin around 2.30pm with a musical prelude by the Aretha Franklin Orchestra, followed by the lighting of candles and a processional bringing together members of the clergy and Franklin’s family.

Prayers and readings from the Old and New Testaments will be read when the service itself commences at 3pm, which will intersperse personal reminiscences from Aretha’s friends and admirers with stars taking to the stage to honour the artist through song.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 13:52

Aretha Franklin’s body was displayed for public viewing at Detroit’s Charles H Wright Museum of African American History, lying in state in a gold casket, on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. 

Today it will be transported in a white 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse that was previously used at the funerals of Franklin’s own father, the Reverend CL Franklin, in 1984, as well as those of Temptations baritone David Ruffin in 1991 and Rosa Parks in 2005, at whose memorial Aretha herself sang at this same venue.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 14:00

The streets outside the Greater Grace Temple, where thousands of fans are congregating to join in the celebration, are today lined with pink Cadillacs - a nod to Franklin's 1980s song “Freeway of Love”, which featured the car in its lyrics and video.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 14:08

For today's full order of service, here's The Independent's Jack Shepherd with all you need to know about the memorial.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 14:24

For some further reading on this great star while we wait for the service to begin, look no further than this superb assessment of her cultural impact by Lucy Jones.

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 14:33

Here, Graeme Ross picks out his selection of Aretha's 10 best songs, no easy task given the sheer size of her back catalogue. 

Joe Sommerlad31 August 2018 14:37

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