The Queen of Soul has finally returned home. Before being laid to rest at Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery later today, Aretha Franklin’s life and legacy are being celebrated this afternoon during a private funeral ceremony at the city’s Greater Grace Temple.
Franklin, who died on August 16th after fighting advance pancreatic cancer, is being remembered by speakers such as Smokey Robinson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and former President Bill Clinton. Gospel choirs as well as prominent musicians are also expected to perform tributes to the late legend.
Already we witnessed Ariana Grande deliver a powerful cover of “Natural Woman”. Chaka Khan also took the stage to perform the gospel classic “Goin’ Up Yonder”. While it’s natural for fans to feel a sense of loss and emptiness in the wake of Franklin’s passing, Khan conveyed some peace and comfort, knowing that Franklin had moved on to a higher place. “As God gives me grace/ I’ll run this race/ Until I see my Savior/ Face to face,” she sang. “I’m goin’ up yonder to be with my Lord.”
“I think it’s a positive, beautiful spin on this thing called life. Death is a part of life,” Khan — herself known as the Queen of Funk — told TMZ prior to her performance.
Today’s funeral follows weeks of tributes (Clive Davis, Paul McCartney, Elton John) to the music legend.