The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was laid to rest today in her hometown of Detroit with a grand celebration of her life and legacy.
Mourners heard of Franklin's impact on music as well as her work as a prominent figure in the civil rights movement, a role that saw her funding groups as well as performing at rallies and benefit concerts.
The funeral was originally expected to include family, friends, and invited guests only, but the church opened up 1,000 seats for the general public on a first-come, first served basis. For the funeral, she was clothed in a sparkling golden dress. "I love her. She was my longest friend".
"It's the key to freedom!"
Though beloved by the world, Franklin was even more adored by her family.
She said: "It's been a great journey and He knows our every need, everywhere we are, and He gives us the remedies to everything, one way or the other". VIPs had been in place at 10:00am.
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.
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"The secret of her greatness was she took this massive talent and this ideal culture that raised her and chose to be the composer of her own life song".
"Other highlights of the service included pop superstar Ariana Grande serenading the audience with a version of the Franklin hit, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". One of Franklin's nieces agreed to serve as executor.
Actress Cicely Tyson reworked the Paul Laurence Dunbar poem "When Malindy Sings" to "When Aretha Sings". Robinson also didn't share what he will say, but that's for a different reason.
It's clear many of those dancing at the gas station have very little but there's little complaint.
"It's better than Inauguration Day!" said Theresa Cranford, 62, a retired auto worker, in reference to Barack Obama's investiture. Her musical taste varied and she introduced me to the songs of the legendary Nigerian theatre giant, Hubert Ogunde and the musical geniuses from her home state Okene.
Her final send-off involved 100 pink Cadillacs, a gold-plated coffin, three presidential tributes and eulogies by more than a dozen preachers.
Franklin died August 16 at age 76. "My advice? Go slow, be careful and be smart".
For African American women in particular, she was a role model and a benchmark for success, feminism and empowerment. Franklin made her first recordings at age 14 in her father's church in Detroit. "Bless her heart", tweeted one, Tenisha Taylor Bell.