Former presidents and music stars paid a joyful tribute to Aretha Franklin during a marathon funeral that began on Tuesday and ended Friday at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, where her family and the public could say goodbye to the "Queen of the Soul" of the United States .
The formal part of the service lasted almost eight hours. The celebration of the life and legacy of someone who is an icon of the United States was full of gospel, praise, music and preaching.
The 76-year-old singer, loved by millions of people around the world, died of cancer on August 16 and closed the curtain for a brilliant six-decade career about gospel, R & B, jazz, blues and even classical music.
Former President Bill Clinton rejoiced his gifts, courage and compassion, the memory of his last public appearance he shared in November 2017, when she was already ill but acted with enthusiasm.
I hope God forgives me, but I was so happy when I arrived here, and I hope you forgive me, because when the box was still open, I wondered what my friend was doing today, & # 39 ; said Clinton laughing.
Franklin, beloved, not only because of her powerful voice, but also because of her work in favor of civil rights, wore a different attire for each of the three days of public visits. Before the funeral she wore a bright green dress.
"She worked hard to get where she was, she took the gift that God gave her and it got bigger every day," Clinton said, playing the song "Think" on her cell phone. "It is the key to freedom, God bless you, Aretha, we love you", he concluded.
The letters of George W. Bush and Barack Obama were read and praised his contribution to the United States. Gospel music and opera filled the air, members of the congregation danced and one of their children sang "Mercy Mercy Me".
"Make love great again"
Franklin's gold box was escorted out of the church with a simple bouquet of roses on it, almost eight hours after the service began, officially at 11 o'clock.
The VIP guests were in place one hour before the start. Stevie Wonder performed a harmonica solo virtuoso and an interpretation of his hit "As".
"What needs to be done today, not only in this country, but in the whole world, is that we have to make love something amazing again," he said, one of the many direct or indirect reviews of Trump's length of service.
Popstar Ariana Grande acted thanks to the success of Franklin in 1968, "Natural Woman," while Jennifer Hudson called the crowd with a passionate rendition of "Amazing Grace."
Singer and composer Smokey Robinson said goodbye to his childhood friend, blew a kiss on his coffin and sang: "I miss you, my friend, I miss you, my friend, I know my love for you will never end".
The grandchildren of Franklin spoke and a delegation represented the South African government. Franklin sang for Nelson Mandela in Detroit after being released from prison.
Hundreds of members of the public who set themselves up at night to be the first to enter the ceremony were mixed with television stars and politicians.
Outside, dozens of people crowded around on a big screen that brought the funeral to a nearby gas station, lying on beach chairs or standing in the sun, clapping and laughing with all the speeches.
"This is something I am going to continue in the story," Teresa Cranford, a 62-year-old retired, told AFP. "We do not have queens and kings in America, so she is our queen," he added.
Franklin influenced generations of singers from the late Whitney Houston to Beyonce, with unforgettable hits including "Respect" (1967) and "I Say a Little Prayer" (1968).
He won 18 Grammy Awards and was honored for his work in favor of civil rights, raising money for the cause and inspiring activists with his hymns.
Especially for African-American women she was an example and a reference point for success, feminism and empowerment.
Pink Cadillacs parked en masse outside the church and waited to follow the procession to Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, where Franklin will be buried with his father.
The car's were a nod to his hit & # 39; Freeway of Love & # 39; from 1985, a hymn to his hometown of Detroit, also called Motor City.
Franklin was supposed to make his final journey in the same ivory Cadillac LaSalle that he used at his father's funeral in 1940, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks in 2005.
Daughter of a prominent Baptist preacher and civil rights activist, she sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as at the inaugurations of Presidents Clinton and Obama.
She received the highest civil honors in the United States from George W. Bush in 2005.