Sun | Dec 9, 2018

Mourners gather for Aretha Franklin’s funeral, diva dressed in gold

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 10:16 AM
Pallbearers carry the gold casket of legendary singer Aretha Franklin after arriving at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Friday, August 31, 2018. Franklin died August 16 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (AP) — Pink Cadillacs filled the street early Friday outside Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple, and hundreds of fans lined up as they awaited the funeral of Aretha Franklin, who was dressed in a sparkling gold dress for her final outfit.

Dignitaries attending Friday’s service include Clive Davis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Holliday.

Franklin’s body arrived, in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse, more than two hours before the service was scheduled to start.

She was dressed in a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels for her final outfit — the fourth outfit Franklin has worn during a week of events leading up to her funeral.

Her casket was carried to the church that also took Franklin’s father, legendary minister C.L. Franklin, and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks to their final resting places at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the singer will join them.

The Pink Cadillacs outside refer to a Franklin hit from the 1980s, “Freeway of Love.”

Floral arrangements from such singers as Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett and from the family of Otis Redding, whose “Respect” Franklin transformed and made her signature song, were set up in a hallway outside the sanctuary.

An arrangement from singer Sam Moore included a card that read, “You know I always adored and loved you to bits and pieces ... Even when we would fuss.”

Funeral organisers insist it will be a service, not a show.

Yet the Queen of Soul’s final send-off certainly will encompass many elements, emotions and grand entrances that were hallmarks of her more than six decades on sacred and secular stages.

And it boasts a lineup of speakers and singers that would rival any of the hottest revues, past or present.

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