Friday's funeral service for Aretha Franklin in Detroit's Greater Grace Temple brings her week of tribute to an end with a live-directed, music-sown ceremony throughout the day.
It was a service filled with music, prayers, reflections and emotions from a parade of bold names, from president to pastor. But it was not intended to be a show, Bishop Charles Ellis III of Greater Grace said.
"It is my goal and my goal to ensure that people leave here with a kind of spiritual awakening," Ellis told reporters before the service began. "This is not a concert, this is not a show, this is not a price production.
"This is a real life that lived, that a person no matter how famous she became, no matter how many people she touched around the world, she still could not escape death."
Yet the showbizz and political worlds were well represented, with powerful performances by Ariana Grande, Faith Hill, Ronald Isley, Fantasia, Chaka Khan and Jennifer Hudson.
Gladys Knight made a surprise appearance towards the end, singing a medley of "You'll Never Walk Alone" (from the 1945 Broadway musical "Carousel") and the rising "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel.
And Stevie Wonder played a catchy riff on a harmonica, followed by "I Love Be You."
"We have to make love big again, that's what Aretha said all her life:" Wonder told the audience before asking them and the rest of the artists to join him in "Always".
"God bless you, Aretha!" Wonder exclaimed.
Prior to the recession, Jennifer Holliday stood up and released them, screaming, singing: "Climbing high mountains, trying to get home."
Earlier, accolades continued from former President Bill Clinton, former Advocate General of Obama Eric Holder and singer Smokey Robinson, who ended his speech with a few lines from his song "Really Gonna Miss You & # 39 ;.
Hill sang the hymn "What a friend did we have in Jesus & # 39 ;, while Khan and Fantasia performed a few spicy gospel classics," Going Up Yonder & # 39; and 39 Precious Lord, Take My Hand, & # 39; with the winner of American Idol & # 39; Season 3 kicks off her heels before being launched in the last one.
Hudson, dressed in a velvet skirt with a wizard on the side of her head, gave a muscular rendition of "Amazing Grace". with the choir on the back and many people in the audience sang along.
Grande, dressed in a black mini dress and swinging her distinctive ponytail, girded Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."
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For the ceremony, Grande and her fiancée, "Saturday Night Live" Castlid Pete Davidson, photographed with Clinton and his wife Hillary.
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Rev. Jesse Jackson (Photo: Omar Abdel-Baqui / USA TODAY)
Other well-known names include: Isley, Robinson, Hill, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Tyler Perry, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Holliday, Jenifer Lewis, Big Sean, Cicely Tyson and the gospel group The Clark Sisters.
When Perry entered the stage to speak, he sounded more like a preacher than a Hollywood filmmaker and he made a special tribute to Franklin's power as a gospel singer. When she sang the gospel, he said, she was the link between God's Creator and the created & # 39 ;.
"When she is the Queen of the Soul, she sang every time from her soul … When Aretha sang the gospel, something happened, something would shake the room," he explained. "I thank God for letting us be on the same earth as Aretha Franklin."
Prominent African American politicians were also present, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., And former mayor of Detroit Dennis Archer.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was there, just like the Eerw. Al Sharpton, the Government of Michigan Rick Snyder, the current mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, and local representative Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.
Franklin's second of four sons, Edward Franklin, brought some tears when he cherished the Marvin Gaye standard: "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)." He was one of many Franklin family members, including two grandchildren, who paid tribute to her during the service.
Although Franklin performed famously with former president Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009, he and former first lady Michelle Obama will not be in Detroit for the funeral; probably because he was asked this weekend to give a eulogy at the memorial service of Senator John McCain in Washington. The couple sent a letter, which the Reverend Al Sharpton read during the service.
Other big names are present: Oscar winner and "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg, NBA great Isiah Thomas, R & B star Martha Reeve and 93-year-old actress Cicely Tyson, who had the most extravagant church hat in Greater Grace Temple, impress even people who are used to great hats.
Cicely Tyson, 93, speaks during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, August 31, 2018. (Photo: Tannen Maury / EPA-EFE)
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How to view the funeral
Franklin's funeral is limited to invited guests – but the world will be able to see it.
The Friday service will be made available to watch live online and on television. National broadcasters, including HLN and the Word Network, plan to broadcast the long funeral as a whole, although HLN will occasionally call in for news updates.
Franklin's funeral is also streamed live, including on usatoday.com and by USA TODAY on Facebook.
For television viewers in Detroit, the service is broadcast live by various stations. At the national level, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN plan to share parts of the service live, representatives of these networks are confirmed.
The funeral service will also be broadcast in full on SiriusXM satellite channel Channel 49, the soul music station temporarily called "The Aretha Franklin Tribute Channel". The channel records conversations from listeners after the service.
Contributions: Detroit Free Press
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Bishop Charles Ellis III says that the funeral for the late Aretha Franklin is not a show, it is a reminder that you can not escape death regardless of who you are. (August 28)
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