On August 16th, the world lost one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Aretha Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 76. On Friday, August 31st, the Queen of Soul will be laid to rest at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. While the funeral services themselves are strictly limited to friends and family, the world will be able to watch the ceremony below, thanks to a partnership via NPR and member station WDET in Detroit.
Over two dozen guests will speak, sing, and pray in honor of Franklin, and while a complete list of performers has yet to be announced, Franklin's long-time publicist Gwendolyn Quinn has confirmed Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, and Chaka Khan are on the list, as well as gospel artists Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, The Aretha Franklin Choir, and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.
Former President Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cicely Tyson, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and Clive Davis are among the list of those invited to speak during the ceremony.
A live video stream will be available below beginning at 7:00 AM PT/10:00 AM ET.
KEXP's DJ Riz Rollins shares his remembrance of Aretha Franklin:
"i’m so filled with the legacy of the queen of soul and the historic outpouring of honor, love, gratitude and, of course, respect shown to miss aretha louise franklin, i’ve found myself at a week long loss of words to describe her legacy. and her connection to every aspect of modern american music. she has been rightfully described as one of the best voices in history, but she is also being remembered as an instrumentalist, a proficient pianist, a bandleader and co arranger, who never learned to read music, a philanthropist who gave support to strangers in her community, an activist who was at the root of the american civil rights movement, a muse for countless number of singers, producers, and songwriters, who lived and recognized on a first name basis for millions globally. from aretha franklin, to simply aretha, to even simply ‘ree’.
if it has taken a full lifetime to watch her seed grow into a wizened glorious tree, it will take another lifetime to gather the breadth of her influences and depth of her work. but the fruit at the heart of that effort will be to appreciate and rediscover the queen , not just her artistry, but also her compassion, her ability to bolster and comfort the darkest moments in the bleakest of times, her gift as a musical empath will surely be timeless and yes it’s true. words are still failing."