Aretha Franklin’s casket was escorted out of Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple after a nearly eight-hour funeral service filled with performances by superstar singers and remarks by friends and former presidents.
Mourners made their way through the center of the church as Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir performed Franklin’s hit “Climbing Higher Mountains.”
Stevie Wonder performs “As” in moving tribute
Stevie Wonder began his moving tribute to Aretha Franklin by playing the harmonica before singing, “As.”
“The reason we are here today is because of love — because of how much we love this woman,” he said.
Wonder encouraged mourners to remember today’s remarks and that the “greatest gift that we have been given in life itself is love.”
“What needs to happen today not only in this nation, but throughout the world, is that we need to make love great again because black lives do matter, because all lives do matter. And if we love God, then we know truly it is our love that will make things matter when we make love great again. That is what Aretha said throughout her life.”
Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr. delivers a soulful eulogy
Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., the senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church, said to understand legendary singer Aretha Franklin is to know her father, C.L. Franklin.
“He put her on a foundation so that she could rock steady, baby. That’s what he did,” Williams said.
“You may not know about it. But I remember like it was yesterday, the flack, the criticism. How they talked about him, just because he wanted his daughter to live her life and to be who she came to be. He ain’t no preacher. How can he be a preacher and he preaching the gospel and she’s singing the blues? Back in that day and time, oh, how they talked about him. Everybody had thumbs down on C.L. Franklin, preaching the gospel and letting his daughter sing the blues.”
C.L. Franklin was a superstar before his daughter became one. His unique style of preaching drew such a wide audience that his sermons were sold in record stores, and pastors around the nation rescheduled their Sunday evening services to avoid competing with his popular radio show. One preaching critic described his voice as “explosive and filled with a river of music.”
Georgetown professor slams Trump: “She worked above you. She worked beyond you”
Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University, sharply criticized President Trump over his comment that Aretha Franklin worked for him in the wake of her death.
This isn’t the first time Trump got some flack over that remark today — Rev. Al Sharpton did it too.
Speaking of President Trump, Dyson said, “this orange apparition had the nerve to say she worked for him. You lugubrious leech, you dopey doppelgänger of deceit and deviance, you lethal liar, you dimwitted dictator, you foolish fascist — she ain’t work for you. She worked above you. She worked beyond you. Get your preposition right.”
Jennifer Hudson belts out “Amazing Grace”
Two-time Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to Aretha Franklin with a stunning rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Her performance drew mourners to their feet, while others raised their arms in praise.