Stevie Wonder Closes Aretha Funeral With Moving Performance

Pablo Martinez Monsivais  AP FILE

Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP FILE

Aretha Franklin's funeral service in Detroit on Friday drew some of music's brightest stars and a sprinkling of political figures for a proper send-off.

He said, however, that it was a shame that the lines to mourn famous people are long, but lines to vote are so short, lamenting that Trump won MI by so few votes.

Recent tributes to Aretha Franklin are culminating Friday in the answer to one question: How do you lay a queen to rest?

Former US president Bill Clinton extolled her gifts, courage and compassion, sharing his memory of her final public performance, in November 2017, when she was already ill but performed with gusto.

"She said, 'Boy, don't you have a copy machine?'" he recalled, prompting roars of laughter. For the funeral, she was clothed in a sparkling golden dress. "She belongs to us".

"And I say that because when word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, 'She used to work for me,'" Sharpton continued. "It's the key to freedom!" "God bless you, Aretha, we love you".

Letters from formers presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were also read at the service. Nothing sounded better to me than the way my grandma sings.

Franklin's open casket was placed at the front of the church as mourners streamed by in advance of the service. VIPs had been in place at 10:00am. Stevie put on a stunning performance for the momentous occasion, playing his hit song, "As". And he also took a swipe at Donald Trump by saying, "We need to make love great again because black lives do matter".

Singer Chaka Khan performs at the funeral for Aretha Franklin.

Singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson bid goodbye to his childhood friend, blowing a kiss toward her coffin and singing: "I miss you my buddy, I miss you my friend, I know that my love for you will never end".

Victorie Franklin took the stage to praise her "fierce" grandmother. Franklin sang for Nelson Mandela in Detroit after he was released from prison.

Franklin's funeral was a full-on, epic celebration of going to a greater reward, where streets are paved in gold; everything said about McCain keeps coming back to the humility of the hero POW who could occasionally set aside partisan politics for the greater good.

"Aretha's work reflected the very best of the American story".

"This is something that I'll be in history", she told AFP.

"She gave us pride".

Franklin influenced generations of singers from the late Whitney Houston to Beyonce, with unforgettable hits including "Respect" (1967) and "I Say a Little Prayer" (1968).

"I was here for the Rosa Parks funeral", Jackson said.

She sang at three presidential inaugural events: inauguration concerts for President Jimmy Carter in 1977 and President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Dressed in a giant, iconic hat, the 93-year-old Tyson honored Franklin with a speech some Twitter users quipped should earn her an award.

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