Aretha Franklin to be remembered, mourned at funeral service in Detroit

Aretha Franklin to be remembered, mourned at funeral service in Detroit

Aretha Franklin to be remembered, mourned at funeral service in Detroit

One hundred pink Cadillacs also line the street outside.

ET has learned that Thursday's viewing was initially meant to be private (for church members only) but quickly turned into a huge public event.

Franklin died August 16 of pancreatic cancer at 76.

TRT World's John Brain reports.

Besides performers, speakers at the funeral include former president Bill Clinton, Clive Davis, Smokey Robinson, reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Cicely Tyson, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

According to the official program obtained by WDIV4, the funeral will begin at 9:30 a.m., and is scheduled to end at 3 p.m... though we wouldn't be surprised if it runs longer.

Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and was feted for her civil rights work, raising money for the cause and uplifting activists with her anthems.

"I'm very nervous", Chaka repeated.

Officiating the service are Bishop Charles H Ellis III and Reverend Robert Smith at the Greater Grace Temple church. The church where she got her start as a gospel singer, New Bethel is where Franklin's father was the longtime pastor and where she learned the gospel fundamentals that would make her a soul institution.

The street outside Greater Grace will be lined with pink Cadillacs - a nod to Franklin's funky '80s tune, "Freeway of Love", which prominently featured the auto in the lyrics and video.

Tomorrow, Aretha will be laid to rest in a private funeral, where more will perform tributes.

Her granddaughter Victorie Franklin thanked the crowds, saying: "It's truly inspiring to see how many hearts, how many people my grandma has touched". She even suggested who she thinks would attend from the First Family. "I think there will be some up hands clapping and feet dancing". 'We used to talk about that - we saw a lot of soldiers go'.

Headliners included The Four Tops, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Angie Stone, while a gospel choir took everyone to church, rousing the crowd to their feet with an electric, upbeat performance of classics and a powerful rendition of "Amazing Grace" by Tasha Page-Lockhart. It was the third outfit she has been given since her open coffin has been on display, with a red dress and matching heels on Tuesday and a blue outfit on Wednesday.

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