A procession of Aretha Franklin’s family and other loved ones filled the aisles of the Greater Grace Temple yesterday in the Queen of Soul’s hometown of Detroit.
The church choir sang Franklin’s versions of Say a Little Prayer and Bridge Over Troubled Water as mourners arrived. When the diva’s family arrived, the song was You Are The Source of My Strength.
They filed past and paid their respects at Franklin’s open coffin, where they saw her wearing a spark-ling full-length gold dress with sequined heels - her fourth and final outfit of the week. Many ignored the request that no phones be used in the church to take selfies with former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ariana Grande and her fiancé, Pete Davidson, walked arm-in-arm and chatted with dignitaries before the funeral. The singer, who was scheduled to perform at the ceremony, and the Saturday Night Live cast member entered Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple smiling and posed for photos. They even shared a brief kiss on the stage. Others from the world of show biz included Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, Tyler Perry and Jenifer Lewis.
The start of the service - intended for 10am - was delayed. Franklin’s white hearse arrived more than two hours before the service had been scheduled to start.
In the moments before the funeral, dignitaries filled the Greater Grace Temple. The Clintons, Perry, Whoopi Goldberg, Stevie Wonder, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Hill, TD Jakes, Jennifer Holliday, Jesse Jackson, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were all spotted.
Floral arrangements from such singers as Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett and from the family of Otis Redding were set up in a hallway outside the sanctuary. - AP African News Agency (ANA)